Minnesota internet service providers warn new legislation may stall $651 million BEAD plan

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The Minnesota broadband scene is heating up as service providers rally against new legislation they say will stifle the state’s Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) plan. Minnesota was awarded over $651 million as part of the federal BEAD program. The state’s initial BEAD plan was submitted last year and is still awaiting approval from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Once approved, the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development can start choosing which providers will get BEAD money to build broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas across the state. But providers are saying a new State House Bill could throw a wrench into all of that. Specifically, they are calling on legislators to remove Article 10 from the larger House Labor Omnibus bill (HF 5242), which includes new labor-related rules, including prevailing wage requirements. They said Article 10 contains provisions that would increase the cost of BEAD projects and impose burdensome regulations on the broadband sector. ​Among them, the bill would require BEAD funded projects to be prevailing wage projects, which the groups said "would further increase the cost of these projects and limit the reach of the broadband investment."

Minnesota ISPs warn new legislation may stall $651M BEAD plan