Coops get a nod for advancing broadband in rural areas

Thanks to Jaci David at the Blandin Foundation for sending us word on Dave Peters’ (MPR’s Ground Level) article on telecom cooperatives earlier this year. Looking at maps from the Minnesota Broadband Task Force report (Dec 2011), Dave recognizes a trend…

No surprise that the Twin Cities, with its population density and multiple providers, meets the goal [state’s 2015 goal for adequate high-speed Internet access for all households]. But it’s intriguing to see the two large outstate areas in the upper Minnesota River valley and up north.

A big reason is the optic fiber work done in recent years by small rural cooperatives like Farmers Mutual in Madison, Federated Telephone in Morris and Paul Bunyan in Bemidji. Folks in those co-ops will tell you in makes a different when the goal is customer-owner service instead of shareholder profit.

It’s heartening to see coops getting more recognition for their appetite and capacity for helping communities achieve community and statewide broadband goals. It’s a trend that others are picking up as well.

This entry was posted in MN, Rural, Vendors 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.

4 thoughts on “Coops get a nod for advancing broadband in rural areas

  1. Yup, same thing happening in the UK, farmers are JFDI for themselves. Google B4RN if you want to know more. They are breaking the chains from the monopoly that is throttling the country and building their own networks.
    Power to the People.

  2. Chris,

    The B4RN site is very interesting. Who is spearheading it? Is it a local government entity or an ad hoc group of farmers? I really like the idea of getting the stakeholders to invest early and get involved with labor when helpful/reasonable?

    I’d love to learn more. Thx! Ann

  3. Thanks for the Article highlight Federated in Morris. I just jumped ship from my cable provider, as Federated came out with a standard 20meg internet downstream AND upstream (synchronous) in January. From my small town of Hancock I am getting speeds I though you had to be in South Korea to get!

  4. Ben,

    Wow! That is nice service. I’m very jealous. I think there are some serious opportunities for rural areas that want to step ahead of other communities (rural, suburban and urban) to become *the* place to relocate a business or draw from for a remote workforce.

    Good, smart people, reasonably priced real estate and genuine, ultra-fast broadband. Sounds like a recipe for success to me.

    Thanks! Ann

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