Pine Journal reports…
According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, vast swaths of rural Carlton County are either unserved or underserved by broadband internet services.
An unserved residence lacks any connection to a broadband network and underserved areas have access, but at speeds unable to support video chats or other frequently used online tools required for working and learning remotely. Most underserved areas of the county have download speeds of 25 megabits per second and 3 Mbps upload speeds.
Video chats, streaming services and other modern internet tools typically require 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload speeds.
They take a look at what that means on the frontlines…
Brenda Nyberg, a grant writer for the Carlton County Economic Development Department, knows firsthand about the problems with slow or unreliable internet service. A Cromwell resident, Nyberg has been working remotely for most of the past two months and her three sons have been trying to continue school from home, putting enormous pressure on an area of the county that is underserved. Nyberg said she recently found out she can get internet access from Frontier, but potentially not at the speeds the family needs.
They are still investigating the service, but have been using an AT&T hotspot to access the internet.
“There are four of us trying to be online at the same time, and it is really tough,” Nyberg said. “It’s definitely not ideal. The speeds are slow, it’s unreliable, you get kicked off. It’s just really hard to have any long term connectivity.”
While larger cities and those relatively close to the I-35 corridor like Cloquet, Carlton and Moose Lake enjoy ideal speeds, the more rural communities like Cromwell, Wrenshall and Kettle River are underserved at best.