Minnesota Broadband Availability Speeds Have Increased, but Some Regions Still Lag Behind

Big news from Connect MN…

St. Paul, MN – New Connect Minnesota research released today during the Border-to-Border Broadband Conference in Brainerd sponsored by Connect Minnesota and the Blandin Foundation shows that statewide, 78.16% of Minnesota households have access to fixed broadband at a minimum of 10 Mbps download/6 Mbps upload. This represents an increase of nearly 4 percentage points since the last data were released in May. Since 2011, broadband availability at the 10/6 speed goal has increased by nearly 22 percentage points when measuring fixed access; and nearly 33 percentage points when mobile is included.

By comparison, the data indicate that in rural areas only 63.40% have access to fixed broadband service at that speed (74.33% when mobile wireless service is included). This represents an increase of approximately 6 percentage points since the May analysis.

Overall, in this tenth and final data submission by Connect Minnesota as part of the federal State Broadband Initiative program, the data show availability increases since last May in nearly all speed tiers.

“Broadband availability at all speeds continues to increase across Minnesota,” said William Hoffman, Connect Minnesota’s state program manager. “Providers, state and local officials, and stakeholders are working to expand broadband access, adoption, and use, and we will continue to see broadband’s economic and social benefits across the state. Still, there are regions in our state without access to broadband service at relevant speeds and efforts to expand availability, such as the state’s infrastructure grant fund, are important to close the digital divide across the state.”

Among the findings of the new broadband availability research:

78.16% of Minnesota households can access fixed broadband at speeds of at least 10 Mbps download/6 Mbps upload – the minimum speed threshold for Minnesota’s goal of ubiquitous broadband availability; when mobile broadband is included, 88.90% of households have access at the state’s speed goal* (excludes satellite).

Broadband at higher download speeds is now available to more households; 50 Mbps download/1.5 Mbps upload is available to nearly 85% and 100 Mbps download/1.5 Mbps upload is available to nearly 83% of Minnesota households (excludes mobile and satellite services).

Broadband availability at the threshold to be considered “served” for purposes of the state’s infrastructure grant program (minimum of 10 Mbps download and 5 Mbps upload through wireline only) is 86.53%; meaning nearly 14% of the state is considered unserved or underserved for grant eligibility purposes. Of that 14%, 6% is considered unserved by not having wireline broadband at a minimum of 3 Mbps download and 768 Kbps upload.

The public can explore the new data charts, including county-by-county tables/analysis with county connectivity information, on Connect Minnesota’s website. Connect Minnesota’s website is home to an innovative 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. To report that broadband is not available in a given area, consumers can fill out a broadband inquiry.

Connect Minnesota’s research was conducted as part of the State Broadband Initiative grant program for Minnesota, funded by the NTIA. The data were gathered in accordance with the requirements of the 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 provider through voluntary participation and is subject to confidentiality protections. Connected Nation, Connect Minnesota’s parent organization, strives to maintain a flexible mapping process by collecting data from providers in a variety of formats based on providers’ technical capabilities and resources and doing independent, on-the-ground validation practices.

This entry was posted in MN, Research, Rural 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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