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Minnesota Releases New Broadband Availability and Adoption Statistics Report

St Paul, MN. (February 24, 2011) – The state of Minnesota made an empowering move today towards increasing high-speed Internet access and adoption across the state. The Minnesota Department of Commerce and its partner, Connect Minnesota, released an in-depth report that takes a state-wide snapshot of Minnesota’s technological landscape. The Minnesota Broadband Availability and Adoption Statistics report, now available on Connect Minnesota’s website (, is a key element for strategic planning and further development of high-speed Internet access and adoption programs across the state.

“We are focused on ensuring Minnesota has the broadband access we need for our consumers, businesses and institutions to provide opportunity and competiveness in our global economy,” said Mike Rothman, Commissioner of Commerce, the designated agency partner for Connect Minnesota for the federally-funded broadband mapping initiative. “This map is an important first step in the progress for access to broadband Internet.”

This assessment of the broadband market in Minnesota is conducted by Connect Minnesota in partnership with the Minnesota Broadband Task Force and the Minnesota Department of Commerce. This working paper aims to provide a detailed review of the current state of broadband in Minnesota that will spark discussion across multiple broadband stakeholders in the state on key policy and strategies to expand and enhance the broadband experience for all Minnesotans.

“The data contained in this detailed report will serve as an integral resource for spurring broadband development and adoption plans,” said Brian Mefford, CEO of Connect Minnesota’s nonprofit parent organization, Connected Nation. “This research will assist in facilitating the fulfillment of technological modernization goals that have been set for Minnesota.”

Highlights from the report:

• Minnesota’s broadband marketplace is interesting when comparing the few urban areas of the state with their rural counterparts. Because three-fifths of Minnesotans reside in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, broadband inventory data shows high availability of upper speed tier broadband in the state.

• The outlook, however, for the state’s remaining households indicates fewer choices and slower speeds. Furthermore, while only available to less than 4 percent of Minnesota households, fiber to the home broadband is available in more than 50 of Minnesota’s 87 counties.

• An estimated 66,647 Minnesota households (3.41 percent) lack basic broadband service and remain unserved by terrestrial, fixed broadband. It is further estimated that approximately 93.76 percent of Minnesota households have broadband available at download speeds of 3 Mbps or more. This implies that an estimated 118,313 Minnesota households have basic broadband available but lack fixed broadband service of at least 3 Mbps downstream.

• The adoption percentage of households across Minnesota that have broadband service in the home is 72 percent; by comparison, national surveys show that 67 percent of American households subscribe to home broadband service.

• Statewide, 85 percent of all residents own a home computer. This translates into over 588,000 adults without a home computer, with 73 percent of those without a computer saying they do not believe they need one.

According to this report’s findings, Minnesota does appear to be different from the much of the rest of the country in one important way.

• Broadband speeds at higher speed tiers are significantly higher than many other states.

• Minnesota’s availability of broadband at the 50 Mpbs and 100 Mbps speed tiers is significantly greater than many other states. Also interesting is the prevalence of fiber-to-the-home broadband. While fiber is only available to 3.98 percent of households in Minnesota, this FTTH availability is spread across more than 50 of our counties, and not concentrated in just a few areas.

Connect Minnesota is the state’s designated entity for the statewide broadband mapping and planning initiative under the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information (NTIA) State Broadband Data and Development (SBDD) program. Over the course of a five-year award period the project aims to expand broadband access and use across the state through broadband mapping, identifying barriers to broadband adoption, generating statewide awareness, creating local technology planning teams, and establishing computer ownership and Internet access programs.

Connect Minnesota provided the mapping data used in the National Broadband Map which was released by the NTIA last week. Connect Minnesota will continue to gather semi-annual updates on the broadband maps over the next four years. Citizens are encouraged to visit the map and offer feedback to ensure the highest level of accuracy.

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