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New Law: New broadband expansion task force

Published (4/25/2008)
By Lee Ann Schutz
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Widespread broadband technology in Minnesota is closer to fruition with a new law signed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty April 18.

Sponsored by Rep. Sandra Masin (DFL-Eagan) and Sen. Yvonne Prettner Solon (DFL-Duluth), the law establishes an Ultra High-Speed Broadband Task Force to develop a strategy for broadband development statewide.

Masin described the law as something that would bring Minnesota into the 21st century.

It calls for the governor to appoint 21 members to the task force, including representatives from wireless service providers, telephone companies, educational institutions, libraries, various state agencies and Internet users from both rural and urban areas. The task force expires March 1, 2010.

A report and recommendations would be due to the Legislature by Nov. 1, 2009, that:

identifies a level of broadband service, including connection speeds, reasonably needed by 2015;

describes a set of policies and actions needed to achieve that goal, and estimated costs of doing so;

identifies areas in the state that lack infrastructure necessary to support broadband service; and

evaluates strategies and financing mechanisms used elsewhere to support broadband development.

The law is effective April 18, 2008.


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