Broadband Use Explodes Statewide, But Adoption in Rural Minnesota Still Inconsistent
Center for Rural Policy and Development Minnesota Internet Survey Measures Broadband Adoption and Use
SAINT PETER, Minn. — Comprehensive research conducted by the Center for Rural Policy and Development has found that broadband adoption and use has exploded throughout Minnesota since the organization first began studying the technology in 2001.
However, the research also found lower adoption rates and less general use of the Internet in Minnesota’s more rural counties.
“The growth and use of broadband in Minnesota since we first began measuring it ten years ago truly is remarkable,” said Brad Finstad, executive director of the Center for Rural Policy and Development. “But while the story of broadband tends to center on its phenomenal growth, we find that adoption in rural parts of the state is still inconsistent.”
To get a closer look at the question of rural adoption, Center researchers divided the state’s counties into three groups: the seven-county Twin Cities group; the Metropolitan or Micropolitan Statistical Areas counties group (Greater Minnesota counties with population centers of more than 10,000 residents); and the Rural counties group (Greater Minnesota counties that are defined by population centers of less than 10,000). The results of the survey show a significant divide still exists in several ways.
Statewide, availability continues to spread: 76.8% of households report having computers, 73.5% (95.7% of those with computers) are connected to the Internet, and 69.5% of households (94.3% of households with Internet) are accessing the Internet via broadband. Computer and Internet adoption are up slightly from the last survey, taken in December 2007 and January 2008, when adoption rates were 75.9% for computers and 71.5% for Internet. Broadband adoption is up sharply, nearly 12 percentage points from 57.8% in 2007-08.
In Greater Minnesota, computer, Internet and broadband adoption continue to grow and are catching up with the Twin Cities. Computer ownership went from 73.0% in 2007-08 to 75.5%, while Internet connections have gone from 68.2% in 2007-08 to 71.2% in 2010. Broadband adoption grew from 52.3% to 65.4%.
A high percentage of Minnesota households with Internet continue to engage in certain popular activities. Email is universal, but close behind are shopping, checking the news and banking. Other activities are also growing in use, such as doing work for an employer, communicating with a child’s school, or contacting a legislator or doctor. Greater Minnesota still lags behind the Twin Cities in many activities.
Income and age continue to be significant indicators of whether a household will have a computer, Internet or broadband. Older and lower income groups still tend to be behind in adopting these technologies, but they show steady growth.
Within Greater Minnesota, counties without significant population centers lagged behind those with population centers in computer, Internet and broadband adoption, and in activities.
The entire 2010 Minnesota Internet Report can be found on the Center’s website here.
The Center for Rural Policy and Development, based in Saint Peter, Minn., is a private, not-for-profit policy research organization dedicated to benefiting Minnesota by providing its policymakers with an unbiased evaluation of issues from a rural perspective.
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