Bill Coleman discusses broadband on AM950 – the impact of broadband on rural areas

Mike McIntee of AM950 spoke to Bill Coleman (speaking on behalf of the Minnesota Broadband Coalition) about broadband in Minnesota yesterday. (The broadband discussion starts at minute 31:35.)

Bill draws from his experience working with communities across the state as well as recent research on broadband in Minnesota.

They talk about the impact of not having broadband. For example, people won’t  move to areas without broadband. Entrepreneurs can’t run their businesses. Students can’t do their homework. Bill used to spend time working with communities to help them understand the value broadband – now they start the meetings tell him how much they need it!

In towns and cities people have broadband that at least meets FCC definition of broadband but get a few miles – or sometimes even just blocks – away from the town do not have access. They are stuck with slower, more expensive satellite or using personal hotspots for home connectivity, which gets expensive with their data caps. In fact, 30 percent of rural Minnesotans can’t get access to real broadband.

Mike asks if there’s a way to “make” providers serve everyone. However, broadband is generally an unregulated industry. There’s a move at the FCC to start regulation with universal coverage. But Chairman Wheeler is retiring January, leaving the next Chairman to be appointed by the Trump Administration.

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