Do you know Minnesota has an “Office of Broadband Development?” Check the link! Broadband is one of my big issues — we are fortunate in Red Wing to have had our city wired a few years ago, HBC gives us great access, reliable, and reasonable priced!

Frontier, on the other hand…

Frontier Communications settles with Minnesota, agrees to $10M upgrade to broadband network

There’s a piece from Matt Bruns (for Minnesota House 21A) in a recent bEagle, it’s pasted below… their wall is a bit much these days.

It took me too long to figure out that the symbol above, on a state park campground map, meant “amphitheater” and not internet access! Internet access is a necessity when working from campsite. On a more serious note, many of my clients, on the range, the north shore, and in southern Minnesota have very spotty internet connection. My Freeborn Wind clients often have to drive into Albert Lea to get a reliable connection.

What does spotty internet mean in these Daze of COVID, homeschooling, and work-from-home? It often means it just doesn’t work. How many parents were taking their kids to McDonalds and hotel parking lots to connect? Uploading and downloading assignments, or viewing lessons, your average car is not set up for studying, and it’s a prelude to a big FAIL, for students, parents, and educators, a systemic FAIL that is a given without internet access. No discussions of “reopening the schools” should happen without addressing internet access, including financial assistance for access, training for parents and children, and making infrastructure happen NOW (that’s my message to Gov. Walz today).

Here’s the Matt Bruns (for 21A) op-ed on broadband:

Time to Act on Rural Broadband

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: combined household economic benefit of $32,774,600/year, household cost savings of $198,775,804/year, and increased 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 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.