Broadband Funding Pieces Start Falling Into Place
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The debate over how much money to spend on broadband Internet development is taking center stage at the Legislature.
A budget bill up on the House floor Wednesday sets the number at $40 million, though half of that sum would be set aside for more than a year. A measure passed in the Republican-controlled House earlier this week earmarked another $7 million to fund WiFi hotspots in rural schools.
Democrats say much more funding is needed to connect rural pockets of Minnesota to the Internet. Senate Democrats have suggested $85 million this year, while Gov. Mark Dayton has requested $100 million.
Republican Rep. Pat Garofalo says the House bill will help leverage federal grants and private investments. A vote was expected Wednesday afternoon.