Greater Minnesota Partnership talks rural broadband with Institute of Local Self Reliance

Last week, Chris Mitchell (Institute for Local Self Reliance) had Dan Dorman (Greater Minnesota Partnership) on his regular podcast to talk about rural broadband. Here’s the description of the show:

This week, we talk with Dan Dorman, Executive Director of the Greater Minnesota Partnership. He is also a former Minnesota state Rep and remains a small business owner. We discuss the need to improve access even as major cable lobbyists fight in the capital to preserve the status quo. The Partnership believes state barriers to community networks should be removed.

Dorman offers a unique perspective as a former member of the Minnesota Legislature. He knows what it is like to be lobbied constantly by one side of the issue but rarely hear from the other. Fortunately, the Greater Minnesota Partnership is working to provide that other side the best it can.

It was a an interesting look at rural versus urban and suburban broadband. Dorman talks about his talking tour of rural Minnesota (broadband showed up as top concern!) and the difference between broadband in rural versus other areas. Broadband keeps an area thriving. Dorman gives a special nod to Windom as a great test case in Minnesota.

One comment from Dan Dorman that struck me – “If you’re going to have a free market you need at least three competitors.” It really hits on a glaring difference in rural and urban areas. Generally, urban areas have multiple providers. Competition drives down prices and increases customer service. However, rural areas generally don’t have multiple options. So there isn’t any competition. Users are a captive audience.

And Dorman points out those user don’t have lobbyists, the providers do. As a former legislator Dorman was familiar with that arrangement, when you hear one from only one side of the issue and say an opportunity to help broaden the discussion

This entry was posted in MN, Policy, 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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