This is the transcript for episode 395 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast. In this episode, Christopher speaks with Matt Schmit, Deputy Director at the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity about moving the rural broadband discussion forward in Minnesota and determining the best way to deploy broadband in Illinois. Listen to the episode, or read the transcript below.
Matt Schmit: That fiber. It's in the ground. It's going to stay there. It's going to be doing a lot of really good work on the communications for a long, long time.
Lisa Gonzalez: Welcome to episode 395 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. I'm Lisa Gonzalez. When Matt Schmit was a Minnesota state Senator, he was one of the lawmakers instrumental in developing the state border to border broadband program. Other states that have since developed similar programs use the Minnesota program as a model. Now, Matt has moved on to Illinois where he's planning on continuing his work to bring broadband to more people in more regions of the state. Last year, Illinois firmed up plans to fund broadband infrastructure as part of their statewide infrastructure plans. Matt will be working diligently on implementing the program.
Lisa Gonzalez: In this conversation, Matt and Christopher sat down to talk about what the process was like for Matt and Minnesota, and what drove him to pursue better broadband for rural areas. They discussed some of the challenges he faced and what challenges he may contend with in Illinois. Christopher and Matt also talk about Illinois new funding approach and compare the program to Matt's work in Minnesota. Now here's Christopher talking with Matt Schmit, former Minnesota state Senator, who's now working to expand broadband in Illinois.
Christopher Mitchell: Welcome to another episode of the community Broadband Bits Podcast. This is Christopher Mitchell with the Institute for local self-reliance, coming to you from Sunny St. Paul, Minnesota, and the first ever interview that I'm doing in my own personal studio slash dining room. Welcome to the show Matt Schmit.
Matt Schmit: Christopher. It's great to join you.