Feeling the Need for Speed Testing in Minnesota

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The Minnesota Rural Broadband Coalition (MRBC) launched a speed test last week. The goal is to collect much-needed data via crowd-sourcing to give lawmakers and stakeholders a better read on how to direct broadband expansion efforts.The coalition posted a speed test page for end users asking them to input their addresses and how much they pay their Internet Service Provider.

The MRBC is made up of over a hundred utilities, cooperatives, regional development commissions, nonprofits, private companies, and rural and urban interest groups across the state. It’s stated mission is to advocate for funds that help local communities address internet access imbalances across the state. 

To date, according to Community Networks, they’ve received 15,000 tests from 11,000 locations. Saint Louis, Itasca, and Carlton Counties account for the bulk of the tests outside of the metro area. 

The test is designed to aid the Border-to-Border Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program which funds, through legislative appropriation, the expansion of broadband service to areas of Minnesota that are unserved or underserved. The focus of this grant program is to provide state resources that help make the financial case for new and existing providers to invest in building broadband infrastructure. 

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