Posted by: Ann Treacy | January 22, 2013

Broadband access in Southern MN? 20 percent in Olmsted & Winona

The Post Bulletin ran an article last week comparing broadband to electricity…

One of the big initiatives now is broadband. High-speed Internet is becoming what electricity was 80 years ago — a critical component of business, Landkamer said.

It’s not a new comparison, but an apt one. What I really liked about the article was their definition of broadband…

According to Connect Minnesota, the Legislature set its basic broadband level at 10 megabits per second download and 6 megabits per second upload. Many of the areas with the best broadband coverage are in the metro area, where more than 75 percent of people have access to high-speed internet.

In southeastern Minnesota, Goodhue and Wabasha counties have the best coverage at 40-50 percent; Olmsted and Winona counties have the worst at less than 20 percent.

So often I see people give the Minnesota standard for broadband but then proceed to give statistics based on lower speeds. These numbers give a clearer vision of the gap between what speed policymakers think will help Minnesota thrive and what is actually out there.

I should mention that the article also gives the Blandin Foundation a nice nod…

The Rural Development Administration is working with many other groups in the project, she said. The Blandin Foundation, of Grand Rapids, has a Broadband Initiative that has many of the same aims.

“Abundant and robust access to the Internet (broadband), and the digital literacy skills necessary to take full advantage of this access are essential as communities seek to compete and thrive in a digitally connected world,” the Blandin Foundation states.

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