Mike McIntee of AM950 spoke to Bill Coleman (speaking on behalf of the Minnesota Broadband Coalition) about broadband in Minnesota yesterday. (The broadband discussion starts at minute 31:35.) The conversation starts with a definition of broadband and how Minnesota and federal goals and definitions. Bill highlights areas with providers that do provide fast access – such as US Internet and Paul Bunyan Communications.
They talk about the impact of not having broadband. For example, people won’t move to areas without broadband. Entrepreneurs can’t run their businesses. Students can’t do their homework. In fact, 30 percent of rural Minnesotans can’t get access to real broadband. In towns and cities people have broadband that at least meets FCC definition of broadband but get a few miles – or sometimes even just blocks – away from the town do not have access. They are stuck with slower, more expensive satellite or using personal hotspots for home connectivity, which gets expensive with their data caps.
Mike asks if there’s a way to “make” providers serve everyone. However, broadband is generally an unregulated industry. There’s a move at the FCC to start regulation with universal coverage. But Chairman Wheeler is retiring January, leaving the next Chairman to be appointed by the Trump Administration.
They also spoke about the limitations of wireless connections and improvements in fixed wireless options. As well as the role of fiber is supporting any wireless connections.
They spoke about the impact of having broadband on the value of your house as well as average cost saving broadband can mean for a household budget.