As our reliance on the internet increases, so does the need for reliable, easy and affordable broadband internet.
Imagine being on a business trip and stopping for lunch, but you can’t check your work emails, play the video of a plumbing issue sent hours earlier by a spouse at home, or check your bank account for what might be fraudulent withdrawals.
It happens and it happens here.
With action on the local, state and federal levels, the need for widespread access to broadband internet is finally getting the attention it deserves.
The United States Senate has passed the Measuring the Economic Impact of Broadband Act, authored by U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-West Va., co-chairs of the Senate Broadband Caucus.
The act would require the Bureau of Economic Analysis to conduct a study of the effects of the digital economy and the adoption of broadband deployment on the U.S. economy. Broadband refers to high-speed Internet access that is always on and faster than the traditional dial-up access.
While the federal government measures the economic impact of many industries, it does not produce current, reliable statistics on the economic impact of broadband on the U.S. economy.
The senators said accurate, reliable data on the economic impact of broadband and the digital economy is a valuable tool for policymakers and business leaders and many research institutions, state broadband offices, and trade associations have highlighted the need for this data.
Having that information available would benefit the other fronts clearing a path for widely accessible broadband internet, including at the state and local level.
The Minnesota Legislature approved and Gov. Tim Walz signed into law a $40 million investment over the next two years in the Border-to-Border Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program.
The grants will be used to help connect thousands of Minnesotans who do not have adequate broadband services.
And locally, the Koochiching Technology Initiative, which is tapped into the Blandin Broadband Communities program, has awarded $23,000 in grants to local projects that will build upon the idea that broadband internet must be accessible and affordable to us all.
Clearly, broadband internet touches us all, whether we know it or not, and whether we want it or not.
That’s why it’s crucial that we all — main street business owners, farmers, rural health care workers and children doing homework — have the ability to connect.