What is service in rural unserved and under-served Minnesota really like?

mn-gig-mapSome parts of rural Minnesota have amazing broadband! Specifically those areas area shaded in darker colors on the map on the right, which track access to a Gig!. BUT many areas are still without adequate service.

Redwood County was kind enough to share the results of a recent survey they did in their community.

Here are some highlights from the survey – it’s typical of what I hear when I talk to folks.

  • 7% report that their cell phone is their only Internet access
  • 89% of folks without broadband report they would subscribe if it were available
  • Average reported download speed 20 Mbps
  • Average reported upload speed 9 Mbps

I think the real story, however comes from the “essay” portion of the survey “Tell us about your broadband story (your experiences positive and negative) in Redwood County”. Here are some of the 85 responses.

Some happy…

Good residential experience.

We are lucky because we live 2 miles out of town and can get DSL. If that wasn’t there I would be stuck in an office environment that was difficult to work in because of cubicle space. The noise level was very distracting to me.

I am satisfied with service in Redwood Falls – however, faster is always better.

I was able to get fiber access to our home via Arvig as we found out they were digging fiber past our place. Other service options would not have worked for me to run my business out of my home. I’m technically in Renville county but have a Redwood Falls mailing address.

Broadband is great but it would be wonderful if Belview had more options for providers.

Most not so happy…

The internet service in Morton from Century Link is the worst I have ever experienced. We have to reset our router 5-6 times PER DAY and hope that it comes back up. We just went 3 weeks without service as they could not resolve the issue

No service where I live. We took part in a survey 3 years ago maybe. Still no improvements in our area.

We cannot get decent landline service, marginal cellphone service and very slow Internet. We have 10-12 people at this address all the time. We get very frustrated. I tried to do this online and survey monkey never was able to finish the submission on this. So I am sending it in snail mail — that is our BEST speed – Wow!

I have needed service for 17 years since I moved here. All systems are unreliable and expensive. I took part in your survey 3 years ago with no changes made as of yet to my community. Kids have a difficult time doing homework as speeds are too slow. Business is also unreliable no service in our community of 500+ living just 7 miles from Redwood Falls in Redwood County. The clinic in my area also has issues with slow speeds and unreliable service providers. NEEDS to improve !! 🙂

They say I live in a bad spot. To far out for quality dsl & wireless. The we’re billing me for a speed they knew they couldn’t physically provide. I believe that is called theft.

We live in a slightly lower elevation, it was difficult for both mvtv and Arvig to bring us wireless internet due to poor line of sight with a nearby tower. Our internet is fair to good on a clear day, but on days of rain or blowing snow the speed can go 3mb to 1 or no internet whatsoever…

Our speed test shows 3.05 download and .22 upload. We lose internet and cell service when the weather is stormy. Our internet has a maximum usage per month. Our cell phone data plan has a maximum usage per month.

… I am disabled and I rely heavily on an Internet connection in order to perform accounting, reservation, and research for a number of employers throughout MN. Because we can only get set-up with wireless internet connection (not DSL, cable or fiber optics) I have also had to forgo a number of work-from-home opportunities from businesses that required a more secure and grounded connection (DSL or cable) than wireless…

Sometimes slow or no service. Sometimes get kicked off of phone when talking. No access to emergency systems in outage due to storms.

We do have a business that we are seriously considering starting online and have it registered with state and would be able to launch it online once we would build the website and upload images of our products, which takes quite some time right now. Also the Upload speed of our DSL line was 0.60 Mbps

Slow….even tho supposed to be higher speed. Told it is because of existing lines (old) in our area. Works okay if one device connected but deteriorates when more than one.

I currently have (I think) a DSL connection. My son (who does a lot of gaming via XBox) complains ALL THE TIME about the speed and losing his connection. When my older children come to visit, they complain about our speed/service compared to what they have in their own homes.

This entry was posted in Digital Divide, MN 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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