'If it were easy it would have been done by now': Why high-speed internet remains elusive for many in rural Minnesota

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In most of the Twin Cities, where about 60 percent of Minnesotans live, the internet is oxygen — at once ubiquitous and unnoticed. But for somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of Minnesotans, according to recent estimates, the internet is still ephemeral.  The state has been involved in broadband since the Gov Tim  Pawlenty (R-MN) era. There is an Office of Broadband Development, and a Minnesota Ultra High-Speed Broadband Task Force, and Border-to-Border Broadband grants that have supported community efforts to get high-speed internet with $65.58 million in the last three years. And there has been progress: In 2009, the state estimated that only 55.13 percent of Minnesotans had broadband access; that number is now officially 87.94 percent. But those final percentage points, translating to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses across Minnesota, will be the hardest to connect. “If it were easy,” said Danna MacKenzie, who heads the state broadband office, “it would have been done by now.”


'If it were easy it would have been done by now': Why high-speed internet remains elusive for many in rural Minnesota