IN THE NEWS
March 25, 2010
Washington, D.C. – Today U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar announced $4.8 million to increase broadband access in rural communities across Minnesota. The funds were awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce as part of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to fund the Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities initiative. The initiative will remove barriers to broadband adoption in Minnesota’s 80 rural counties through education, training, and technical assistance.
“As a country, we have ensured that every American has access to telephone service and electricity – we must now do the same for broadband internet access,” said Klobuchar. “This project will ensure that rural communities throughout Minnesota have the training and tools necessary to utilize broadband technology.”
The Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities initiative is being launched by the C.K. Blandin Foundation. The initiative is a multi-sector, comprehensive approach to sustainable broadband adoption targeting residents, small businesses, local governments, and critical services providers in rural Minnesota. The project anticipates training as many as 2,500 individuals in computer literacy, online education, and workforce development, and plans to distribute 1,000 affordable refurbished computers to low-income, rural Minnesota residents. Funding will support the development of institutional broadband applications for schools and health care facilities to help increase broadband adoption.
The Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities project also proposes to:
Klobuchar serves on the Senate Commerce Committee, which has authority over telecommunications issues. Klobuchar was a key leader in the push to include high-speed internet infrastructure investments in the economic recovery package to help jumpstart the economy and create new jobs. She also cosponsored the Broadband Data Improvement Act (S. 1492), which was signed into law in October 2008.
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