How will Minnesota address rural broadband disparities?

Jean Menden
Jean Menden points out a jewelry-making video highlighting her work on a public television show on her laptop with newly installed fiber-optic cable that began delivering ultra-fast broadband to her rural Boyd, Minn., home, enabling her to maintain her electronic storefront and tap into Web-based tutorials that help her hone her silver handmade jewelry craft.
Jim Mone/AP

If you live in the Twin Cities, you may take your broadband Internet access for granted. Statewide, about three-quarters of households have access to the Internet at speeds the state considers adequate.

But in some rural parts of the state, it's harder to come by. That has consequences beyond how fast you can upload photos. It impacts economic development and health care too.

In the most recent legislative session, lawmakers agreed to spend $20 million on broadband infrastructure in Minnesota, marking the first time the state has put money into building faster Internet connections. The state is currently holding meetings throughout the state about the Broadband Grant Program.

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