Brookings looks at broadband access and use – how does MN look?

Brookings Institute is looking at broadband access and adoption. I wrote about it from the urban-rural perspective this morning. (Spoiler alert: rural is behind!) This afternoon I thought I’d look at what they are saying about Minnesota – and by Minnesota I really mean St Paul-Minneapolis.

Before we look at the specifics, it’s helpful to look at their definitions and how they came to conclusions:

  • Used FCC’s Form 477 and the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (Dec 2015)
  • Low subscription neighborhood: one where fewer than 40 percent of households subscribed to broadband.
  • Moderate subscription neighborhood: had adoption rates between 40 and 80 percent
  • High subscription neighborhood: one where more than 80 percent of households subscribed to broadband.
  • They focused on metropolitan areas.

Here’s a map – indicating (among other things) that 3.1-6 percent of the Twin Cities neighborhoods do not have access to 25/3 (25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up).

The Twin Cities has 567,459 (or 16.4 percent) residents living in low-subscription neighborhoods.

Here’s how the Twin Cities ranked:

  • Metro Availability at 25/3 – 96.4%
  • Subscription GINI* – .38
  • Combined score – .77
  • Combined rank – 70 (out of 100)

*GINI coefficient (statistical measure of the degree in variation in data) of the subscription quintiles, where higher scores correlate with a higher proportion of the population living in higher-subscription neighborhoods.

They show what a map of the data looks like comparing San Diego and San Antonio. It would be valuable to see this for the Twin Cities. The report gives a nod to the Office of Broadband Development for their annual reports. They don’t list the work done by the City of Minneapolis – who did a community technology survey in 2014. It would be awesome to see a combination of the Brookings and Minneapolis work.

It seems like Brookings is doing research to impact policy – to see which areas need greatest support. A goal of the Minneapolis survey was similar but more granular and service oriented. They wanted to see where the libraries needed to be open longer and provide greater access to computer (which neighborhoods didn’t have home access). Which areas maybe has access and technology but needed more training. In which areas should you work through the schools and where was it better to work through work programs of elder services.

Both are great way to effect change with good info!

This entry was posted in Digital Divide, Policy, Research 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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