MPR: Lagging connections in rural areas a drag on Minnesota’s prosperity

I’ve got the feature commentary spot at Minnesota Public Radio’s website today. In “Lagging connections in rural areas a drag on Minnesota’s prosperity,” I talk about the digital divide between the Twin Cities and rural Minnesota, particularly the Iron Range. This gap threatens more than just the future of rural Minnesota, but the whole state’s integrated economy. Check it out.


  1. Broadband would help areas like Bruno in east central Minnesota. It had a one-time population of 2,000, when logging and the railroad thrived. The population has dwindled to 102 but the clientele at the food shelf has increased. Sparky, the food shelf administrator, says that some people drive to the Cities every day because that’s the only place where they can find work. With a median household income of $28,125, gas running $3.70 a gallon, and a daily roundtrip commute of 200 miles, the lack of broadband is a serious drag on prosperity.

  2. Susan…
    I give those who are driving that far in order to be gainfully employed a lot of credit. You should let them know there are also goods schools and great home/rental prices in the cities..and the vast majority of people in the cities came from small towns, just like them, and are great folks. (The locals aren’t that mean either).

    Help me out though. How did you make the leap…”driving to the cities relates to the lack of broadband in Bruno”??

  3. Hi Ranger47: I meant that broadband would increase telecommuting opportunities for people in outlying areas of Minnesota, reducing/eliminating the commute and increasing productivity and prosperity. (Also needed, a workforce that is skilled in jobs that can be performed through telework.)

    As a former Minneapolis resident, I agree, the Cities are wonderful. But for various reasons, not everyone can or wants to live there. Susan

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