Gov. Mark Dayton has named a 15-member task force to look for ways to expand access to broadband Internet across Minnesota.
Dayton’s goals for the effort include border-to-border access to high-seed services for homes, schools and businesses. He wants to make Minnesota a top-five state for broadband access by 2015. An initial proposal for addressing the access disparities is due by the end of January. Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman says the expansion is critical to the state’s economic recovery and long-term prosperity. Rothman says 3.4 percent of the state still needs broadband infrastructure. He says that’s nearly 66,647 homes, mostly in rural areas, without access.
” We need to take a look at what’s called the last mile, the middle mile, and how to get the build out to homes in those areas,” Rothman said. “Those are the challenges.”
Dayton appointed former House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, who directs the Minnesota High Tech Association, to chair the task force. Kelliher was one of Dayton’s DFL rivals in the 2010 campaign for governor. Another rival in that campaign, Matt Entenza, was appointed by Dayton last week to serve on a new Sunset Advisory commission.