WASHINGTON — The Treasury Department has provided $68.4 million in federal funding to expand broadband access in Minnesota, Senses announced this week. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith.
The funding, made possible by the Treasury Department’s Capital Projects Fund created as part of the U.S. bailout, will provide $68.4 million in federal funding for the Border-to-Border (B2B) grant program of Minnesota, enabling broadband service providers to serve more than 23,000 homes and businesses across the state that lack high-speed internet.
“I think we all know it’s not just about being able to email your grandma,” said Klobuchar. “It’s necessary to get into…school, take online classes, and be able to take classes at a community college.”
Smith agreed, pointing out that broadband access is a necessity to support the economy.
“Broadband is the infrastructure of the 21st century – it’s not just nice, it’s necessary if we are to build an economy that works for everyone,” said Smith. “I am proud to have helped secure this funding, which will expand affordable high-speed Internet access to thousands of Minnesotans.
These resources will support broadband infrastructure and are designed to provide reliable Internet service needed by a household with multiple users to simultaneously access the Internet for telecommuting and access education and health monitoring. The Treasury Department designed its guidelines to prioritize connecting families and businesses in rural and remote areas.
Klobuchar’s legislation with House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (DS.C.) to expand broadband internet nationwide, co-sponsored by Smith, served as the basis for major broadband funding included in the Investment Act and employment in infrastructure.
In May, Klobuchar introduced bipartisan legislation with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WVa.) to boost broadband access for rural communities. The Rural Broadband Protection Act will ensure that providers seeking federal funding can reliably deliver broadband to underserved rural communities.
In March, Klobuchar and Sen. John Thune (RS.D.) led a bipartisan group of colleagues, including Smith, to urge the FCC to provide rural communities with guidance on their broadband funding status. She and Smith also secured significant federal funding through the government’s funding program to expand broadband access for rural communities in northeast Minnesota, and led successful efforts to resolve a dispute over Red River Communications, helping to bring high-speed Internet access to rural communities in the Red River Valley.