How does a lack of affordable broadband access in rural areas affect a typical family?

Marc Johnson, educator at ECMECC and BBC community leader, has been working on a series of articles on rural broadband and education. (I mentioned his work about a week ago too.) His latest post is particularly good. In it he outlines costs for a family of four to get broadband a few miles outside of town….

The family is composed of two tech-savvy parents and two high school students with four smartphones, a tablet device, and two laptop computers. Statistically, a fairly average situation.

I’ll point you to the article for the specifics on costs but think high cost and/or low bandwidth. Marc asks some good questions too…

Given those options, what would your choice be and what would the conversations in your household sound like? How would you feel knowing that if you lived in town 3 miles away, you would have access to 30mbps speeds with no data cap for less than $50/mo or 7mbps with no data cap for less than $40/mo?

His family scenario sounds a lot like my own – I have three kids. We have smartphones, laptops, and devices. We can go the monthly data cap on my mobile wireless in less than a day on a road trip. I can’t imagine having to pay attention to data caps at home. I can’t imagine capping time on homework or when school is cold because of the cold, I can’t imagine fighting with them about limiting time online. Also – I can’t imagine buying a house in an area where I’d have to think about these things. And that’s when the issue goes from a family issue to a community issue.

This entry was posted in education, MN, 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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