Minnesota needs to focus on 2026 broadband speed – 100/20 Mb

As originally posted on the Blandin on Broadband blog

As the legislative session passes the midway point, it seems like a good time to review the hot broadband topics. These are my own personal reflections on the discussion.

The question of how much money should be appropriated is still open. The Governor and the Senate have each talked about $100 million and the House’s starting bid was $35 million. Doing the simple math might indicate a fund of $75-80 million.

The Governor’s Broadband Task Force recommended two new broadband goals. I am extremely disappointed that the 25/3 Mb by 2022 goal seems to be taking priority over 100/20 Mb by 2026. There are three reasons why this is extremely disappointing.

First, the current state goal is 10-20/5-10 Mb. 25/3 would mean an embarrassing decrease in upload speed in our goal from 2010 to 2022. Second, tying our state goal until 2022 to the FCC current definition of minimum broadband speed is deflating. The FCC’s definition has increased thirtyfold over the past eight years. What might it be in 2022? Third, some now dismiss the 100 Mb goal is “aspirational.” By definition, all goals are aspirational. Some are challenging, others are too easy so as to be meaningless.

There is also controversy around broadband access versus broadband based economic development. We need both. A rural industrial park without fiber is now by definition, deficient. There are many ripe opportunities to get fiber installed in critical locations through public private partnerships.

There was even discussion about providing state grants for wireless services meeting a very low 10/1 Mb standard. In my opinion, state funds should only be used to support projects with long term, useful benefits, not quick fixes that won’t satisfy anyone very long. Where providers are installing fiber, these areas are set for decades no matter what the standard. These networks can also support any emerging wireless technologies. The current 100 Mb scalable standard (upgradeable without extraordinary delays or costs) seems reasonable to me.

These are my thoughts. I am sure others have a different point of view.

Did you enjoy this post? Why not leave a comment below and continue the conversation, or subscribe to my feed and get articles like this delivered automatically to your feed reader.

Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.