Wilkin & Aitkin Counties frustration with lack of broadband and losing potential recruits to the area

The Grand Forks Herald reports…

“We’re stranded,” he said, referring to the lack of reliable, high-speed broadband available to homes, farms and businesses in the area. “In a world that revolves around access to wired, high-speed internet service, we’re on the dark side of the moon until we get connected.”

His aerial applicator company covers a three-state area where agriculture is king. “Frustrating,” is the polite word he would use to express his feelings about the internet service available to track weather and planes.

He used a wireless service for 10 years, but it was slow. “Dial-up was faster,” he said. It took several minutes to load a single map that takes seconds for anyone in most other areas of the state. “I just switched to satellite only to find the service drops when weather moves in — which is when I need it most!”

He is not alone…

And he’s not alone. The Office of Broadband Development maps show 13 counties where more than 50 percent of the population is without even basic broadband service — and another five counties where that number is between 40 and 50 percent.

So Klindt’s frustration is shared on a deeply personal level by the realtor or resort owner in Aitkin County when they lose another prospect because the expectation of a fast, reliable connection to the net cannot be met, or the parent in Redwood County who’s child can’t complete homework assignments, or the elderly, sick or infirm who are blocked from participating in the exciting emerging benefits telemedicine is providing the state as a whole, and deep rural areas in particular.

They are working with the Minnesota Broadband Coalition…

Minnesota Rural Counties (MRC) is a participating member in the MN Broadband Coalition. The coalition and its nearly 70 participating members, are requesting $51.48 million this year to fund the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant program, in order to stay on pace to achieving established state speed goals.

Funding the Border-to-Border program is a top priority for MRC and for a broad cross section of rural advocacy organizations. In the mix of funding requests legislators must consider this year, we hope this issue is a top priority with them as well.

This was also posted in The Pope County Tribune.

This entry was posted in MN, Policy by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

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

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