Broadband access gap in Minnesota shrinking

Here’s the latest from Connect Minnesota

Analysis shows that broadband access gap in Minnesota shrinking; More households have access at State and FCC Speed Goal Tiers

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St Paul, MN – New research unveiled today by Connect Minnesota shows that the broadband availability gap in Minnesota is shrinking, with 85.09% of Minnesota residents now having access to broadband speeds of 6 Mbps download/1.5 Mbps upload, compared to 81.20% last October. In addition, 59.92% of Minnesota households can access broadband at speeds of at least 10 Mbps download/6 Mbps upload – the minimum speed threshold for Minnesota’s goal of ubiquitous broadband availability – a nearly 3% increase from October 2011.

“It is encouraging to see that the efforts of providers and all state stakeholders to increase broadband access are showing clear results,” said Connect Minnesota Program Manager Bill Hoffman. “These efforts, however, must continue in order to bring the empowering technology of broadband to the roughly 2 percent of Minnesota residents who remain unserved. And while the majority of the state can access basic broadband speeds, our 2011 survey results show 28% of the population still does not use broadband at home.”

Nonprofit Connect Minnesota has been working since 2009 to ensure that Minnesota residents have access to the economic, educational, and quality of life benefits derived from increased broadband access, adoption, and use. Part of that work includes mapping Minnesota’s broadband availability and providing analysis to the Broadband Taskforce, broadband providers, policymakers, and community planners.

Among the findings of the new broadband availability research are:

  • 85.09% of Minnesota households can access broadband at advertised speeds of 6 Mbps download/1.5 Mbps upload, meaning that 311,000 households are in areas that may be eligible for Universal Service Fund broadband deployment subsidies.
  • 59.92% of Minnesota households can access broadband at speeds of at least 10 Mbps download/6 Mbps upload – the minimum speed threshold for Minnesota’s goal of ubiquitous broadband availability*.
  • 94.83% of rural households in Minnesota have access to broadband.
  • 67.66% of Minnesota households have access to broadband speeds of at least 100 Mbps download/1.5 Mbps upload. In October 2011 only 45.30% of households in Minnesota had access to these broadband speeds.
  • Broadband at the basic 768 Kbps/200 Kbps tier is available to 97.77% of Minnesota households, up from 97.08% last October.
  • 88.1% ofMinnesota households have the ability to choose broadband service from two or more non-mobile broadband providers

Note: The data in this report are subject to data validation.

*Minnesota Statute 237.012 indicates upload goal of 5 Mbps. Data collection only conforms with speed tiers as represented in the SBI NOFA where 6 Mbps is the most comparable upload speed tier. This means that across the state, approximately 837,000 households are not connected to services that meet the state’s target.

Last month, Connect Minnesota released an innovative new broadband mapping tool called My ConnectView offering unmatched views of Minnesota’s technology landscape. Residents and businesses are encouraged to use the interactive map to find area providers and help validate the data.

Connect Minnesota’s research was conducted as part of the State Broadband Initiative (SBI) grant program, funded by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The data were gathered in accordance with the requirements of the Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) and subsequent clarifications set forth by NTIA. The process begins by contacting all known providers in the state and providing information about the broadband mapping project. Information on broadband service areas is collected from each willing provider through voluntary participation. A nondisclosure agreement (NDA) is offered to all providers prior to the submission of data; the data protected through the NDA is limited to highly sensitive network infrastructure information, including middle-mile locations. Connected Nation strives to maintain a flexible mapping process in order to be able to collect data from providers in a variety of formats based on providers’ technical capabilities and resources.

This entry was posted in MN, Policy, Research by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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