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New map shows broadband available to 92 percent of Minnesotans

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A preliminary version of the broadband map ordered by the Legislature last session has been made public.

It was presented to the Senate Energy, Utilities, Technology and Communications Committee, the House Telecommunication Division, and the Broadband Task Force earlier this month.

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The map gives a very positive picture of the availability in Minnesota with the early data indicating that 92 percent of Minnesota households have broadband available to them, according to Dave Wolf, CEO and general manager of Gardonville Cooperative Telephone Association in Brandon.

"The information supplied by our company and other Internet service providers in the state provides a clear picture of the progress that has been made in bringing high-speed Internet access to all parts of Minnesota," Wolf said.

In presenting the mapping results to the House committee, Brent Legg of Connected Nation, the consultants hired by the state to do the map, commented, "In other states we have not experienced the bandwidth that is available in this state."

In addition to availability of broadband, the data also shows Minnesotans are experiencing some very impressive broadband speeds.

"The average download speed statewide is higher than we have seen in any other state at approximately 6.5 megs," Legg said. "The average upload speed is approximately 1.5 megs."

This is a far different picture than advocates have painted portraying Minnesota to be falling behind the rest of the world.

"We are proud of the level of Internet service that Gardonville is providing to our member communities and the surrounding rural areas," Wolf said. "Gardonville is able to provide quality, high-speed DSL and wireless Internet to a majority of Douglas County residents and we'll continue to provide our customers with best of bred telecommunications services to meet the needs of both our residential and business customers."

A large amount of the credit for the quality of the map was given to the providers, which are the local telephone companies.

The final version of the map is expected to be completed this summer. Minnesotans are being encouraged to check their Internet speed at www.connectmn.org.

The map, when complete, will be used by state policy makers in developing a broadband policy for Minnesota.

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