Post by Paul Tosto
Seventy-eight percent of Minnesota households now subscribe to a broadband service, up from 72 percent in 2011, with a significant jump in rural connections, a new survey shows.
Rural broadband subscriptions rose from 71 percent to 78 percent the past two years, according to data released today by the non-profit group Connect Minnesota. Big gains were also seen statewide among low-income homes and among seniors.
Broadband supporters have argued for years that high speed Internet access is a crucial state economic issue, especially in rural Minnesota.
In December, Gov. Mark Dayton’s task force on broadband concluded Minnesota was not on track to meet the goal of making high-speed Internet access available to every household by 2015.
Other findings from the Connect Minnesota survey:
369,000 Minnesotans who do not subscribe to home broadband service say they do not subscribe because they don’t feel that broadband is relevant to them, or they don’t believe they would benefit from having broadband at home.
Mobile Internet usage has increased from 39 percent to 51 percent across the state in the past year.
Among Minnesotans who have mobile plans that include data caps, nearly one in three say they went over their cap in the previous 12 months (32 percent).
The Connect Minnesota research tracks closely to recent data from the Center for Rural Policy and Development, which found three-quarters of Minnesota households now have high-speed Internet connections but that adoption was slowing.
Connect Minnesota is funded in part through a U.S. Commerce Department grant and has been working with state officials since 2008 to improve broadband access.