Broadband is an issue in rural Minnesota – but it’s a different issue in different parts of rural Minnesota

MinnPost recently published an article recognizing that “rural Minnesota” is not a homogeneous territory…

In reality, Greater Minnesota contains regions that are distinct from one another because of the land they sit on, because of the people who settled them and the people who live in them now; how rural they are; what businesses they’re home to, and many other factors.

A new report from Minnesota Compass looks at some of those differences across six different parts of the state: the Central, Northland, Northwest, Southern, Southwest and West Central regions.

I see it traveling around the state. Last week I spent two days in Madison Minnesota – this week I’ll spend two days near Chisholm. Let’s just say at no point will I be confused about where I am. The article mentions the need for broadband in rural Minnesota and the added natural complication of deploying it in Northeast MN – built on rock and filled with forests…

Expanding broadband in rural parts of the state to improve internet connections and, hopefully, lure business, is a top issue for all non-metro regions of Minnesota, but it’s especially tricky in the state’s northeast reaches, and expensive to boot, Phillips said.

“In a prairie town, you might go on top of the grain elevator or the water tower … and you can serve the whole county from a couple towers,” Phillips said. Because of topography and trees, which block the signal — “pine trees hate broadband,” he added — it’s not so simple in St. Louis County.

What the Northeast does have is leadership and providers that are interested in upgrading connectivity. So that will help them.

It’s worth noting that two of the nine comments related to the article mention the need to improve broadband in rural areas.

This entry was posted in economic development, MN, Rural by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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