House GOP aim to slash broadband grants

Published 10:14 am Friday, April 10, 2015

ST. PAUL — House Republicans are aiming to save $30 million by cutting grants to build out broadband Internet access across Minnesota.

Gov. Mark Dayton signed the broadband grant program into law last year in hopes of reaching underserved parts of the states. Republicans chopped those grants in a budget bill revealed Wednesday, citing the high cost of installing Internet lines in low-density areas.

Republican Rep. Pat Garofalo says they need to suspend the grants because the costs are too high. He says wireless and satellite Internet are far cheaper options.

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Lt. Gov. Tina Smith criticized the cut. She says the grants have provided Internet access to thousands of homes and hundreds of businesses in rural Minnesota.