Broadband good for rural areas

The USDA recently published a report on the Internet’s Value for Rural America. They found that “rural communities with greater broadband Internet access had greater economic growth than areas with less access.”

That won’t be news to most readers but it’s always nice to have it confirmed. They compared early-ish adopters (folks with broadband by 2000) with others and found that employment growth was higher and non-farm private earnings greater in counties with a longer history of broadband availability.

They also found that while 55 percent of US adults have broadband access at home, only 41 percent of rural adults had access. As they pointed out that can be a tremendous disadvantage in today’s economy when broadband can be required to complete many job applications and when broadband ranges from being an asset to essential in starting a home-based business.

They also note the great advantages of broadband from remote education to telemedicine. In many respects these tools are even more important in rural areas where distance can be a larger issue that in urban areas – and many rural areas have benefitted – but only when they have access to the broadband necessary to access the tools.

They pegged areas with lower service rates and unfortunately northern Minnesota gets a specific mention (along with the Dakotas, eastern Montana and eastern Oregon).

This entry was posted in Broadband Applications, MN, Research, Rural by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

2 thoughts on “Broadband good for rural areas

  1. Pingback: MIRC project will help farmers and other businesses « Blandin on Broadband

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