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Broadband for everyone

Published (4/29/2010)
By Nick Busse
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It’s official: Minnesota intends to provide every resident the ability to access high-speed broadband Internet service by 2015.

A new law makes high-speed broadband Internet for every home and business an official state goal. In addition, it calls for a boost in broadband speeds: 10 to 20 megabits per second for downloads and five to 10 megabits per second for uploads.

Sponsored by Rep. Sheldon Johnson (DFL-St. Paul) and Sen. Yvonne Prettner Solon (DFL-Duluth), the law also specifies three other goals for Minnesota’s broadband access. It states that Minnesota should be in:

• “the top five states of the United States for broadband speed universally accessible to residents and businesses”;

• “the top five states for broadband access”; and

• “the top 15 when compared to countries globally for broadband penetration.”

The law stems from the work of the Minnesota Ultra High-Speed Broadband Task Force, which spent two years researching a strategy for deploying broadband Internet service throughout the state. The task force’s final report is available online.

Also included in the law is a provision requiring the Department of Commerce to report annually to the Legislature on progress made toward meeting the state’s broadband goals.

Signed April 26 by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, the law takes effect Aug. 1, 2010.

HF2907*/ SF2254/CH277

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