Sheldon Johnson on Minnesota’s broadband potential

I just ran across Sheldon Johnson’s editorial in the Bemidji Pioneer. (Sheldon Johnson, DFL-St. Paul, is a member of the Minnesota House and chairman of the House Telecommunications Regulation and Infrastructure Division.)

Rep Johnson paints a great picture of Minnesota poised to be at the forefront of the broadband arena based on the goals set out by the recent Minnesota Broadband Bill. Here are some quick (abridged) highlights…

While Minnesota and the Unites States were once leaders in broadband penetration and speed, we have fallen behind. The U.S. now ranks 15th in broadband speed and 12th in broadband penetration. Minnesota, once a top-tier broadband state, has fallen back into the middle of the pack.

The goals state that by 2015 all Minnesotans will have access to broadband Internet with download speeds of 10 megabits per second and upload speeds of five megabits per second; Minnesota will in the top five states nationally in broadband access and speed; and that we will put together an advisory committee with a wide range of stakeholders to make sure we are reaching these goals in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible.

The importance of broadband Internet access cannot be overstated. According to a report prepared for the U.S. Department of Commerce, “Communities in which mass-market broadband was available experienced more rapid growth in employment, the number of businesses overall, and businesses in IT-intensive sectors, relative to comparable communities without broadband.” In addition, the report found that communities with broadband access had higher property values.

This entry was posted in MN, Policy, 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.

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