SAINT PAUL, MN—Representative Duane Quam, R-Byron, issued the following statement regarding today's announcement from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) that Mantorville is one of 71 Greater Minnesota communities to receive a state grant to expand broadband access.
According to a press release from DEED, the $764,663 grant will expand broadband infrastructure in Mantorville, bringing broadband access to 195 households, 9 unserved businesses, as well as improving business development, health care and educational opportunities in the community.
“Bringing broadband to unserved rural areas in a big economic development tool for Greater Minnesota communities,” Quam said. “Due to House-led efforts, more resources than ever will be flowing to Greater Minnesota to connect rural areas with high-speed internet access. I’m glad to see Mantorville utilize the grant program.”
Quam continued, “I am happy to have introduced HF 54, a bill to extend a sales tax exemption to internet equipment that already existed for telecom services. Organic growth for rural broadband is the next phase for its growth and this bill will help to spur investment in rural areas for broadband much like it did for telecom services.”
Thanks to GOP-led efforts, $32 million of the $35 million in grants were targeted toward unserved areas of the state—ensuring that broadband grants are going to the communities that need it most. Additionally, because of policy reforms to the program, the Minnesota State Broadband fund leveraged Connect America Fund Phase II (CAF II) federal broadband funding to amplify connectivity into rural areas of the state. In total, Minnesota is expected to see half a billion dollars in combined state and federal broadband funding between 2015 and 2021.
The legislature approved a total of $45 million in broadband grants during the 2015 and 2016 legislative session. When combined with federal CAF II funds, Minnesota will see more than $100 million in broadband expansion this year alone.