The latest numbers from Connect Minnesota surveys are out – here are some of the highlights:
- 74.93% of Minnesota households can access fixed broadband at speeds of at least 10 Mbps download/6 Mbps upload – the minimum speed threshold for Minnesota’s goal of ubiquitous broadband availability; when mobile broadband is included, 82.78% of households have access at the state’s speed goal* (excludes satellite). However, only 57.07% of rural households can access these broadband speeds (62.70% including mobile), illustrating the gap in Minnesota rural broadband availability.
- 89.27% of Minnesota households can access broadband at speeds of at least 10 Mbps download/3 Mbps upload (excludes mobile and satellite services); when including mobile, the percentage increases to 99.51% availability at this speed tier. However, only 75.99% of rural households can access these broadband speeds (excluding mobile and satellite services), indicating a disparity between the urban and rural broadband landscape in the state; when including mobile, rural availability jumps to 98.85%.
- 96.66% of Minnesota households can access fixed broadband at speeds of at least 3 Mbps download/768 Kbps upload – the speed threshold used by the FCC in making Connect America Fund determinations; if mobile is included, 99.89% of households have access at this speed tier (excludes satellite). Fixed broadband availability at these speeds decreases to 92.36% when examining just rural households; if mobile is included, 99.73% have access (excludes satellite).
- Broadband at higher download speeds is now available to more households; 50 Mbps download/1.5 Mbps upload is available to 81.36% and 100 Mbps download/1.5 Mbps upload is available to 79.78% of Minnesota households (excludes mobile and satellite services).
The map of coverage also tells the story. The red areas have less than 50 percent access to broadband; the blue areas have 90-100 percent access. There are a handful of other counties that are coming in with single-digit percentages. with access to broadband.
I understand that the population density (and other factors) make it difficult to serve these areas – but without broadband who will they attract? Hopefully the Minnesota Broadband fund will help color these maps differently!
Kittson Count’s access decreased. Apparently that is because one of their providers reported their coverage differently this time around. In the past they have reported speeds of individual towers’ some of which meet the 10M/6M definition of broadband. This time they reported ALL coverage the same as what they advertise and that happens to fall into the 10-24.99Mbps/3-5.99Mbps NTIA speed tier. So the entire territory was reported at the same speed.
I think Connect MN does a good job with mapping, but it’s one draw back of having the provider self-report. It leaves the interpretation of questions up to the individual filling out the forms. (True for any survey!)