Why is it taking so long to get high-speed internet to all of greater Minnesota? 

A photo of internet cables
MPR News host Angela Davis talks about how the pandemic underscored the need for better broadband in greater Minnesota.
Daniel Roland | AP Photo 2014

During the pandemic, life moved online. 

Students were sent home with iPads and laptops to log into online classes. People started working remotely and spent their days in Zoom meetings. Retail stores launched e-commerce and restaurants took online orders. 

So, what is happening in places that don’t have reliable high-speed internet? 

Many areas of greater Minnesota lag behind the rest of the state in access to broadband. The changes brought about by COVID-19 have only highlighted how crucial internet access is to the viability of rural communities. 

Host Angela Davis talks with Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove, a rural Minnesota nonprofit leader and a rural internet provider about what Minnesota is doing to get broadband to people left behind. 

Guests: 

  • Steve Grove is the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

  • Tuleah Palmer is president and CEO of the Blandin Foundation in Grand Rapids, Minn.

  • Kevin Beyer is general manager of Federated Telephone Cooperative, headquartered in Chokio, Minn., and Farmers Mutual Telephone Company, headquartered in Bellingham, Minn. 

Editor’s note (March 15, 2021): The Blandin Foundation is a financial contributor to MPR.

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