Fillmore County Journal say forget about broadband invest in main street aesthetics

While most of the Minnesota local papers I’ve seen support greater investment, the Fillmore County Journal is saying forget broadband…

There’s been a lot of chatter about how our Internet speeds are too slow in greater Minnesota.

Without a doubt, as a point of comparison between Rochester and small communities in this region, there’s a tremendous disparity. In the big city of Rochester, people pay less and get more — for obvious reasons. They have a larger population base.

They suggest investment in main street buildings…

If you ask me, don’t waste $100 million on increasing Internet speeds. Direct those funds toward the aesthetics of small town Minnesota. There’s no sense in increasing Internet speeds to dilapidated buildings. We need to get our priorities straight.

I was struck by the article because it is so contrary to what I’m reading in other local papers.

Last time I looked at Fillmore County (Feb 2015), they were about 70 percent covered (using the 2015 speed goals of 10-20 Mbps down and 5-10 Mbps up). But they had recently (2013-2015) gone from 7 percent coverage to 70 percent once CenturyLink had accepted CAF funding (earlier funding than the CAF II mentioned these days).

I don’t see building renovation and broadband as separate tactics for encouraging commerce. I think business owners want both – a roof and a broadband connection. In the gig economy more of us can work without a roof than work with broadband. And while I don’t want to eat at a restaurant without a roof – the way I find restaurants is online. So it’s really not an either or question.

I wonder if there are policy makers who feel the same way as the Fillmore County Journal.

This entry was posted in MN, Policy and tagged 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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