I was working on something completely different – when I had to find broadband adoption rates in Minnesota. The best I could find was access in the Census. The good news is that the numbers appear to be pretty recent (2020); the bad news is that while it’s listed as subscription rate, it appears in the small print (spelled out below) that they are tracking whether anyone in the house has access.
Here are the top ranked counties:
It’s striking to see that while the top ranked counties for broadband availability are a mix of rural and urban counties; the top counties for access/use are decidedly metro leaning.
And the bottom 10 ranking counties (in reverse order)
|Lake of the Woods||62.2||87|
Also interesting to see that the bottom rank counties for access/use included only one county that is on the bottom ranking for availability. (Redwood has that unfortunate distinction.)
Often I focus on availability here, which simply means there is access available to your household (or business). Access and use get into whether you take advantage of broadband. Availability can be solved with a big check – and we know that unprecedented amounts of funding will be coming into Minnesota to build broadband. We just need to pay the right providers to deploy service. That doesn’t mean it’s easy but encouraging use is more complex.
Access and use come down to affordability, knowledge and interest in using technology – inherent is affordability, knowledge and interest in a device as well as access. Some of the technology/broadband funding coming into the State will be available for tackling those barriers but that means changing people and how they do things.
Here is the full list of counties. (You can also download the list for a more usable format.)
|Lac qui Parle||81.4||47|
|Lake of the Woods||62.2||87|
So here’s the interesting small print…
The internet subscription info is sourced by U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) and Puerto Rico Community Survey (PRCS), 5-Year Estimates. The PRCS is part of the Census Bureau’s ACS, customized for Puerto Rico. Both Surveys are updated every year.
“Subscription” seems to be a confusing term; they aren’t asking about subscriptions, they are asking about access…
Question 10 asked if any member of the household has access to the internet. “Access” refers to whether or not someone in the household uses or can connect to the internet, regardless of whether or not they pay for the service. Respondents were to select only ONE of the following choices:
Yes, by paying a cell phone company or Internet service provider– This category includes housing units where someone pays to access the internet through a service such as a data plan for a smartphone; a broadband internet service such as cable, fiber optic or DSL; satellite; dial-up; or other type of service. This will normally refer to a service that someone is billed for directly for internet alone or sometimes as part of a bundle.
Yes, without paying a cell phone company or Internet service provider– Some respondents may live in a city or town that provides free internet service for their residents. In addition, some colleges or universities provide internet service. These are examples of cases where respondents may be able to access the internet without a subscription.
No access to the Internet at this house, apartment, or mobile home- This category includes housing units where no one can connect to or uses the internet using a paid service or any free service