What do rural Minnesotans think? Broadband is essential!

Yesterday the Minnesota Farmers Union unveiled their report – What Do Rural People Think? It is the distillation of 14 conversations in 14 rural communities held between March 27 and April 6, 2017.

Here’s the quick summary (broadband is #3!)

Since the 2016 national, state, and local elections, there seems to be an ever-present question on the minds of policymakers, elected officials, the media, and organizations of all kinds: What do rural people think?

  • $43,429 per year is too much to pay for health insurance that you don’t use.

  • St. Paul politicians need to come out to rural Minnesota to listen to us about what works, and what doesn’t work, before they tell us what to do with our farms.  Rural people need to be consulted, not told.

  • Broadband Internet is an essential utility, like electricity.  It has to be affordable and available throughout all rural areas if we are going to survive and thrive.

  • Rural Minnesota does not deserve to be left behind on transportation, roads, bridges, healthcare, wages, and everything else.

  • We need to be able to pay rural health care workers more for their work in nursing homes, homes, and healthcare facilities. Right now, big box stores pay more than health care jobs can pay them. It’s our people being taken care of in those nursing homes.

  • Politicians need to really get out here and listen to us; not listen and tell; just listen and hear.

And here is what they say more specifically about broadband:

Broadband in rural Minnesota is an essential utility

High speed broadband internet is not a luxury for family farmers and rural communities.  Without it, farmers and communities cannot retain residents, or be a part of the world’s economy.  Additionally, without adequate internet, youth cannot compete with the rest of the country, to complete homework or education programs.  Farmers need it for everything ranging from working with FSA to communicating with state government to running their farm’s operations.  As more than one person indicated, broadband internet needs to be considered an essential utility, and significant state and federal funding is required in order to make it universally available.

This entry was posted in MN, Policy, 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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