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Letter: Rural Minnesota needs better broadband

I am writing to ask readers to support the House version of the broadband funding proposal.

Because past and present providers have chosen to provide service to more heavily populated areas of the state, large swaths of Minnesota have been left unserved or underserved.

Policy decisions from both the federal government and the state government allowed for this to happen. Now federal and state policymakers have an opportunity to begin to bring equity to all of Minnesota through additional funding.

Lack of broadband is causing communities to be unable to compete for young professionals and entrepreneurs who depend on this technology to advance their careers and invest in their businesses.

Ag producers that use a tremendous amount of web-based technology to make management decisions are not able to upload data to their advisers. In addition, property values are affected by lack of broadband. Prospective buyers walk away from homes that they would like to make offers on, due to inadequate internet service.

Our own business, Three Sisters Furnishings outside of New London, experiences increased cost of operations due to slow service from the only provider available to us. This provider, as well as others, is allowed to charge us for a level of delivery but not required to deliver.

What other industry is allowed to "sell and charge you for a pound," and deliver a "half pound"?! And fixed-base wireless, often cited as a less expensive alternative, will not work for us. Just last week, a technician from MVTV Wireless informed us that we do not have a clear line of sight that would allow for their technology.

Please support the House version of broadband funding. Rural Minnesota deserves better.

Roger R. Imdieke

Kandiyohi County Commissioner

Association of Minnesota Counties Board