Broadband Day on the Hill

Rural voices need broadband for civic engagement

The Women's March Minnesota is committed to ensuring that the voices of women from all backgrounds and identities are heard. That includes the voices of the rural populations that lack affordable access to broadband technology. 

The Women’s March movement has been lauded for their use of social media. The Washington Post said, “Taken collectively, the Women’s March on Washington and its many affiliated “sister” marches were perhaps the largest single demonstration of the power of social media to create a mobilization.” However, to participate fully in such online civic engagement, all people in Minnesota need access to broadband. (Broadband is also tool for economic development, education, healthcare and quality of life.)

Rural areas do not have equitable access. Currently 73 percent of Minnesota households have access to speed goals for 2026 (100 Megabits per second down and 20 Mbps up), while only 57 percent of rural households have access to the same speeds.

The Minnesota Rural Broadband Coalition focuses on equitable access to broadband. They are asking the 2018 Legislature to fund the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant program with $51.48 million to achieve the state’s 2026 broadband speed goal equitably throughout the state. Funding is required to encourage and support public-private partnerships to deploy better broadband in areas where it is otherwise not economically feasible.

The Coalition is asking supporters of rural broadband to contact their legislators in support of funding the Border-to-Border Broadband program, HF3527/SF2787. Tell them why you think equitable access to broadband is essential to everyone. The Coalition is also hosting a Day on the Hill on April 12.

The Coalition’s goal is “Everyone in Minnesota will be able to use convenient, affordable world-class broadband networks that enable us to survive and thrive in our communities and across the globe.”