Duluth News Tribune: Rural Minnesota gets $26 million broadband boost

EXCERPT: “Just as it took an extra taxpayer push to get electricity to rural areas, so too will rural internet service be delivered on the backs of the collective. Thousands more rural Minnesotans and businesses will soon have access to high-speed internet with the help of $26 million in state grants for 39 projects around the state . . . ‘Broadband internet access … is a basic utility of the 21st century,’ Lt. Gov. Tina Smith said during a press conference Tuesday. She said about 20 percent of the state lacks the speeds necessary to remain plugged into the modern economy . . . More businesses, too, will be hard-wired and better equipped to compete with the ‘tool in the economic development toolbox’ that is broadband, said Shawnterra Hardy, commissioner of the Department of Employment and Economic Development.” FULLSTORY: http://bit.ly/2BeatQ3