CTAC founder quoted in Twin Cities Business article on Broadband

Twin Cities Business recently ran an article on broadband access and adoption in Minnesota. The article recognized the important of broadband…

To thrive in the 21st century, Minnesota businesses, state agencies, schools, health care organizations, and private citizens need high-speed Internet access. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center showed that Internet technology is moving so rapidly that people and businesses that can find and digest information the fastest will have a distinct advantage over those that are not as good at retrieving and synthesizing the wealth of information literally at their fingertips.

It recognized effort required to reach Minnesota’s goal of ubiquitous broadband access…

According to data from the 2010 Census, only 57.4 percent of Minnesota households had access to broadband speeds of 10 Mbps download and 6 Mbps upload. And the second broadband task force, under Governor Tim Pawlenty, estimated that 6 percent of Minnesotans do not have broadband access available to them. While access has increased substantially since the last census, many communities still are without high-speed broadband.

It recognized the efforts and government and local business in investing in infrastructure, using a quote from Bill Coleman.

Funding for broadband infrastructure across Minnesota has been provided by both public and private investment, with the bulk of investment made by private enterprise. “The quality of broadband that you have depends on who your provider is,” says Bill Coleman, president of Community Technology Advisors, an organization in Mahtomedi that helps clients develop broadband infrastructure and adoption programs. “Communities served by small rural telephone companies probably are already 100 percent served [with high-speed broadband]. But if you are on the side of the [rural] road served by one of the large telephone providers, there’s a good chance you don’t have broadband at all, because they have not made the necessary infrastructure upgrades.”

The article also looks at adoption – highlighting some of the recent Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities (MIRC) projects, in which CTAC has been an active leader…

Broadband is an indispensable infrastructure for rural communities, says the Blandin Foundation’s Joselyn. The organization has been working with rural communities to both secure broadband access and to adopt the new digital technologies since 2003. Blandin and its partners secured an ARRA grant of nearly $4.9 million to promote Internet adoption in rural communities and added another $2.7 million of their own to the project.

One of the project’s target goals is to set up 11 demonstration communities using the Minnesota Intelligent Rural Community (MIRC) approach to determine priorities. For instance, Winona community leaders have determined that they need to increase Internet access in campgrounds and parks to compete for tourists, while other communities are focusing on goals such as e-health and distance-learning initiatives.

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