Minnesota River Valley wants better broadband

It’s been great to see rural communities rally around the need for better broadband as the bill to provide $100 million for broadband development makes its way through the Legislature. The latest rally has come from the St Peter Herald

While more Minnesotans than ever have access to high-speed Internet, large chunks of Le Sueur County and parts of Nicollet and Waseca counties remain without broadband.

Four years ago, the Legislature said that every household in Minnesota should have access to high-speed broadband by 2015 — so far three-quarters of the state has achieved that goal, according to Connect Minnesota a non-profit that collects data from the state’s broadband providers to pinpoint what areas of Minnesota are currently unserved.

But in places like rural Le Sueur County, high-speed Internet is still not an option for many residents.

More than 80 households located along Hwy. 169 between St. Peter and Le Sueur do not have access to broadband, data from Connect Minnesota, which is based on recent Census data, shows.

Residents between Le Sueur and Le Center and outside the limits of both cities generally lack access, as well as residents living outside Cleveland near Saviadge Lake, Goldsmith Lake and North Goldsmith Lake.

In comparison, only small chunks of rural Waseca County and Nicollet County lack access — some areas have access to broadband, but it is only offered by one provider.

“I would tend to believe there’s still a lot of dial-up connection throughout the county,” Le Sueur County Information Services director Scott Gerr said. “It’s mostly rural parts of the county, like on farms. There is no broadband access in rural areas … and Le Sueur County is mostly rural.”

It’s a powerful picture. I think many legislators and most of us living in urban areas forget that there are areas without adequate access to broadband – and they are at an economic disadvantage. Would you move your home or business to a place without access to broadband?

This entry was posted in Digital Divide, MN, Rural by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

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

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