Broadband Use Growing in Greater Minnesota

For Immediate Release

For information contact: John Shepard, AICP; 507.836.1633

Broadband Use Growing in Greater Minnesota

Slayton, MN—Three quarters of Greater Minnesota residents now have computers in their homes and two-thirds have broadband internet access, according to a survey by Minnesota’s Center for Rural Policy and Development.

Broadband adoption in Greater Minnesota has grown from 6% in 2001 to 66% in 2010, yet still lags the Twin Cities broadband rate of 73%.  While broadband options have grown across the state, many respondents indicated the service is too expensive, or just not available, especially outside regional centers like Marshall or Worthington.

“Broadband is increasingly recognized as essential infrastructure, in the city or on the farm,” said John Shepard, AICP, Development Planner at the Southwest Regional Development Commission.

Almost all internet users statewide have email, and most are researching purchases, checking the weather, accessing news web sites and researching medical information.  Users in metropolitan and micropolitan areas are more likely than rural users to access news web sites, make online purchases and do online banking.  Over 80% of respondents statewide have cell phones, although less than a quarter of those users “surf the internet” on their phones.

The survey also asked about the growing use of social networking websites (e.g. Facebook or Twitter).  The most popular use is to connect with friends and family, although Twin Cities respondents were much more likely to use social networking for their career (e.g. Linked-In).

The 2010 Minnesota Internet Report can be found on the Center for Rural Policy and Development’s website: .

The Southwest Regional Development Commission (SRDC) is working with the Blandin Foundation’s Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities (MIRC) project to facilitate broadband deployment and use in rural areas of the state.  SRDC provides professional expertise and leadership to enhance regional opportunities in Southwest Minnesota.

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This press release follows-up on last week’s release from the CRPD.

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