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Letter: Our moment has arrived for technology

As a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives and the chief author of the last two legislative sessions that presented, debated, helped my House colleagues understand why this investment is so vital, and ultimately having Gov. Dayton sign the bill to deploy millions of dollars to help private internet providers match dollar for dollar to help expand across the most rural areas in Minnesota.

Those that have been awarded in the past few years are currently enjoying amazing service due to this one-time support from Minnesota taxpayers.

Elected officials have recognized that getting high-speed internet to unserved areas, like northern Kandiyohi County, is vital to the future of our small towns. Not every home is fortunate enough to have an actual fiber cable run right to your home or business.

This is the best possible pipeline you could have reach any destination because the speed is almost unlimited.

Let's think about the need for telemedicine that allows seniors to stay in their homes much longer because we have technology that can make sure things are safe.

And after years and years of begging our current local providers to invest in this area, and their refusing due to the return on the investment, we now have this grant that allows Consolidated Telecommunications Company to invest 50 percent of $10 million and the state to pony up the balance.

So if we don't get enough people to sign up and send in a $25 check (and you must live in the area to be served), the grant will be returned to St. Paul and re-granted at a later time.

We need to encourage seasonal cabin owners to also sign up and a special six-month plan has been developed for those residents.

As a local resident and a broadband advocate since the first day I walked on the House floor, I am very proud of the hard work our local broadband task force has done to secure this.

If we don't hit our goals set by CTC, then we will likely not see this grant ever again in this manner we have today. Please call the the EDC office at 320-235-7370 and make this investment to show Minnesota we want and need this vital service.

Rep. Dave Baker

District 17B

Willmar

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