Skip to main content

Minnesota pushes to make broadband access statewide by 2015

  • Author:
  • Updated:

While many urban residents now take high-speed Internet access for granted, its arrival in remote parts of Minnesota is cause for celebration among rural business owners. But bringing broadband to the parts of the state that still lack it will take a concerted effort - one that some critics doubt is worth the expense.

The Associated Press points to jewelry maker Jean Menden of Lac Qui Parle County as an example of a business owner who has benefited from a faster, more reliable Internet connection. Menden, who fills orders from around the world, tells the wire service that watching a 10-minute silversmithing tutorial online could take up to two hours with her old balky connection. Now the new high-speed connection in Byron, Minnesota, allows her to keep her digital storefront in top shape.

But the AP reports that federal grants and loans for expanding broadband service are drying up and providers are showing less interest in extending the service to the remaining areas that are without it.

A Minnesota law sets 2015 as the target for statewide access, though. Achieving that will be a focus for Danna MacKenzie, who was named executive director of the new Office of Broadband Development last week. The group Connect Minnesota, which is hosting a statewide summit meeting in Roseville this week, estimates more than 900,000 Minnesotans - 22 percent of the adult population - do not have broadband service at home.

Nationally, the U.S. Commerce Department issued a report in November touting progress in expanding high-speed Internet service. The report Broadband Availability in the Workplace says in a year the percentage of American jobs served by a high-speed connection rose from 56 percent to 75 percent.

The AP story says in recent years federal grants and loans have paid for more than 100,000 miles of improved Internet connections across Minnesota.

Next Up


How the fastest animal on the planet returned to MN after local extinction

The fastest animal on Earth had once vanished from Minnesota and Wisconsin.


St. Paul's new 'skate trail' brings non-traditional park to life

Gateway Park is the first of four parks to open in the Highland Bridge redevelopment.


80 mph winds, large hail possible with severe storms in MN

A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for much of the state until 3 a.m. Saturday.


30 people evacuated as flooding hammers small town

It's assumed that at least eight inches of rain fell in Randall, with more heavy rain expected Friday night into Saturday morning.

Intersection in Rochester.

Boy dies in motorcycle crash in Rochester

Police are investigating as of Friday afternoon.

Tab2FileL (13)

Numerous severe storms likely in Minnesota Friday night

Watch the video for the full details with meteorologist Sven Sundgaard.

court room

Teen pleads guilty in shooting death of 15-year-old girl in Columbia Heights

Damico Jamal-Tokyo High will receive a sentence in juvenile court, along with an adult prison sentence.

Screen Shot 2022-04-25 at 11.00.01 AM

Walz wants to use surplus money to send direct payments to Minnesotans

It's a renewed effort from a previous proposal from Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan's supplemental budget in January.

Ron Johnson

Jan. 6 committee says aide for WI senator tried to give fake elector info to Pence

The attempt was discovered through text messages in the ongoing public hearing held by the Jan. 6 select committee.

Stock U of M sign

Minnesota State colleges, U of M boosting tuition again

The Minnesota State system's Board of Trustee's approved the increase Wednesday.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, June 24

The next daily update will be provided Monday, June 27.