Commentary: Review your broadband map to improve internet access – Alexandria Echo Press

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By Bree Maki, executive director Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s Office of Broadband Development

Recently, Gov. Tim Walz announced that internet providers will receive nearly $100 million in funding to expand broadband coverage to more Minnesotans. This largest-ever grant round is estimated to extend new high-speed internet connections to more than 33,000 Minnesota homes and businesses in 48 counties.

At the Department of Employment and Economic Development’s Office of Broadband Development, we’re working hard to get broadband to more Minnesotans who need it. Now, we need your help to make that a reality.

As part of the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, $65 billion in funding is available to states for broadband. We’re excited to implement the bill’s programs, but much of our funding relies on a new mapping project from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to show where broadband is and is not available.

The FCC is accepting challenges to their new map right now, and we encourage all Minnesotans to review the map to see if the broadband speeds shown to be available at their address are correct. Local review of the broadband maps is important, as residents know best if the mapping information is accurate. Minnesotans can go to

broadbandmap.fcc.gov

to review their map and provide feedback.

To review the map, type in your address. Your home should appear on the map along with a list of services that providers claim to have available for purchase at your location. If your location is missing or inaccurately reflected on the map, you can submit a location challenge to correct it. If the information about the service provided is incorrect, you can file an availability challenge. Detailed video instructions on how to file a challenge can be found at

fcc.gov/BroadbandData/consumers.

Our goal is border-to-border broadband coverage across Minnesota. Future federal funding will be allotted based on the number of locations in Minnesota that do not have broadband services available right now. To ensure valid challenges are incorporated into the map before federal funding allocations are made, Minnesotans have until Jan. 13, 2023 to submit feedback.

This year, between 240,000 and 291,000 households in Minnesota lacked access to high-speed broadband. So much of what we do happens online, which is why we want to ensure all Minnesotans have access to high-speed internet.

All Minnesotans deserve equal access to high-speed broadband. If you have any questions, please reach out to the Office of Broadband at 651-259-7610 or

deed.broadband@state.mn.us

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