The Association of U S West Retirees



Minnesota has steep climb to reach its broadband speed and access goals

By Sharon Schmickle

June 22, 2010


Ambitious goals set into state law this year call for Minnesota to rank among the top five in the nation in broadband speed and access.
Well, Minnesota had better get going.

A new report by the Pew Center on the States gauges how close states are to meeting broadband goals set in federal stimulus legislation, which calls for providing connections of at least 768 kilobits per second (Kbps) for downloads.


Minnesota ranks 20th  behind most other large Midwestern states, including Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Missouri.

By that federal standard the best connected states are Hawaii, Oklahoma and Nevada. The worst are Wyoming, Alaska and Montana.

Game changer
The stakes couldn't be higher in this race to a connected future.

"Broadband has earned the term "game changer," and it is easy to see why," says Susan Urahn, the Pew Center's managing director.

"Once considered a convenience, access to broadband Internet service has crossed the threshold to necessity," she said in a letter announcing the report. "As increasing numbers of business, government and personal interactions move online, Americans who lack reliable, affordable, high-speed Internet connections may be left behind."

Broadband is driving the latest thrusts in everything from the economy to education to health-care innovation. That's why $7.2 billion in federal stimulus funding was made available to states and their partners for expanding and upgrading broadband access.

America had been virtually asleep at the wheel while other developed countries rushed to connect at ever higher speeds. In a report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development the United States ranked 15th in broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants.