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House committee introduces broadband bill

Last week the House Telecommunications Regulation and Infrastructure Committee approved a bill that sets goals from the final report of the Minnesota Ultra High-Speed Broadband Task Force.  The task force was created in 2008 to create broadband goals and a strategy to implement the goals. 

Cook County is currently awaiting word on first phase funding for a high-speed fiber optic broadband project. Cook County is considered an under-served area, where businesses and individuals, schools and government would benefit from faster and more complete internet service.
The bill states it is a goal to make sure all state residents and businesses will have access to high-speed broadband by 2015.

According to the Telecom Committee Chair, Rep. Sheldon Johnson (DFL- St. Paul) the goal is to have minimum download speeds of 10-20 megabits per second and minimum upload speeds of 5-10 megabits per second by 2015.

Rep. Johnson said the bill would position Minnesota near the top of broadband accessible states. “Minnesota will rank among the top five states in the country for broadband speed that is universally accessible to residents and business,” Johnson said. “The state will also rank among the top five states in the country for broadband access and among the top 15 nations globally for broadband access.”
The Ultra High-Speed Broadband Task Force consists of 23 members including representatives from the business community, telecom providers, educational systems and others.