This letter is paid content. Matt Bruns - Candidate for MN House District 21A
Reactionary policy will always come too late. We need to begin to take a long view, making the best decisions by using the best available data to be proactive.
This fundamental change needs to be applied in how we view access to high-speed, affordable internet. It is no longer the luxury enjoyed by some in the 1990s and early 2000s. Broadband is a utility that allows us to access the world - whether that be education, marketplaces, jobs, healthcare, or benefit programs.
This access is also tied to real economic benefits in Goodhue County, including: c ombined household economic benefit of $32,774,600/year, h ousehold cost savings of $198,775,804/year, and i ncreased residential real estate value of $104,825,572.
Currently, we rank in the bottom third of Minnesota counties in access to broadband. The pandemic has exposed the inadequacy of service and extreme differences in costs across our community. The time to act on rural broadband is now.
At the moment, communities in Minnesota have three options at their disposal in improving connectivity. They can continue to apply for grants through the state’s Border-to-Border program. Through which, Goodhue County has received $115,934 and $332,328 in 2015 and 2016, respectively. We also received $94,000 from the Blandin Foundation. These are great investments, but continue to place our future in the charity of private companies, non-profits, and availability of grant funds.
Option two, consider moving toward a Community Broadband network. On this path we deem it a public utility and put it in the hands of local municipalities. This ensures not only connectivity, but accountability of local governments to the people in the areas of speed and cost through local elections and public meetings.
However, it is likely that a true fix comes through work at the State and Federal level, in the same manner rural areas were electrified in the 1930s. This is a challenge I am prepared to take on for the future of Goodhue County.
Failure to act on this issue will result in our communities missing out on opportunities afforded to those with quality infrastructure. Affordable high-speed broadband access signals to new industries and small businesses that they can count on having the tools necessary to succeed in the 21st century. It also draws the in the workforce. They know that their families will not sacrifice participation in the modern world when they move to our beautiful part of the state.
I encourage you to join me in bringing equity to our community. You can learn more about my campaign at https://mattbrunsformn.org. I can be reached anytime at: PO Box 101, Red Wing, MN 55066.
*Prepared and paid for by Matt Bruns for MN House Committee. PO Box 101, Red Wing, MN 55066.