By Megan Zemple
ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Millions in funding will be coming to Minnesota and Iowa to increase broadband in rural areas.
The United States Department of Commerce has awarded more than $651 million in federal funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The money is part of President Joe Biden’s $42 billion plan to increase more high-speed internet across the country.
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn) said more than 136,000 households in Minnesota don’t have access to high-speed broadband. She said this new law will also make sure the money will be used responsibly.
“If the money goes to some phone company that doesn’t provide the service, and some of the big ones have not been good at this, then we can claw it back and give it someone else,” she said. “Because, one of the things that’s been very frustrating for many of our people in rural Minnesota is that some of the funding the comes out, but the broadband is never put in place. and right now, these small businesses that don’t have high speed, is really do or die.”
Iowa will be receiving more $415 million to increase broadband.
“Access to efficient broadband and transportation is critical to connecting people and positioning communities for long-term successes,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said in a news release. “Today’s infrastructure investments will kick start critical projects, particularly in rural parts of our state. They’ll improve learning opportunities for students and expand markets for small businesses, as well as enhance mobility throughout Iowa.”
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) at the Department of Commerce will provide funds directly to states to expand broadband access across the country, starting with areas that completely lack connectivity.