An new article by Forum Communications political reporter Don Davis underscores how attitudes about rural broadband on the part of state representative-elect Tim Miller (R-Prinsburg) may not be in the best interests of his district.
As we noted in our post earlier this month, Will Tim Miller pay attention to the Coalition of Greater MN Cities about broadband funding?, Miller shared his free market philosophy in a debate on Pioneer Public Television in October.
Here's the clip where he objects to public assistance for broadband:
How slow is broadband in Minnesota House District 17A? Davis reports in Disparity apparent in terms of Internet between rural and urban Minnesota:
The report by Connect Minnesota shows greater Minnesota-large city disparities as well as differences among the state's mostly rural counties.
While such disparities may just frustrate an online gamer, they can cost rural businesses money.
“It’s a big need [and the] one problem we have," Justin Dukek of Captive Advertising in north central Minnesota's Bagley said in a recent Greater Minnesota Partnership meeting. "For a lot of our design work, we need to communicate with customers. It’s frustrating because we want to be here.”
State officials heard that message from across the state and earlier this year provided $20 million in grants that will be awarded soon to parts of the state, mostly in rural areas, that experience slow Internet speeds. The private Blandin Foundation also provides assistance.
Officials say more than $3 billion in private, foundation and government money is needed to bridge the state's digital divide.
The counties in MN17A (outlined below, although only part of Kandiyohi County is in the district) are plague by slow speeds:
In Chippewa, Kandiyohi, and Swift Counties, under 50 percent of people have access to wired service at minimum acceptable speed, while in Renville County, between 60-70 percent of the residents do. It's much slower than the Metro or in nearby Stevens and Lac Qui Parle County.
It's not that Miller objects to all public investment in private facilities. He campaigned on making a priority of re-opening the private CCA prison in Appleton, after all.
Some corporations are just more equal than others.
Images: Tim Miller (top); percentage of people with minimum acceptable speed internet, via Connect Minnesota (below).
If you appreciate Bluestem Prairie, you can mail contributions (payable to Sally Jo Sorensen P.O. Box 108, Maynard MN 56260) or use the paypal button below:
Email subscribers can contribute via this link to paypal; use email sally.jo.sorensen at gmail.com as recipient