Connect Minnesota Launches Powerful Interactive App for Improving Statewide High-Speed Internet

New Broadband Coverage Maps Go Live on Connect Minnesota Website Connect Minnesota has launched a powerful new broadband app in the effort to bring affordable, high-speed Internet to the entire state.

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Minnesota has been a national leader on creating awareness and driving broadband expansion across its state

St Paul, MN (Vocus) May 25, 2010

Connect Minnesota has launched a powerful new broadband app in the effort to bring affordable, high-speed Internet to the entire state. Available on Connect Minnesota’s website, http://www.connectmn.org/ , BroadbandStat is the interactive state mapping resource that puts all the latest information on the broadband landscape directly at your fingertips. Connect Minnesota is a subsidiary of Connected Nation and operates as a nonprofit in the state of Minnesota.

“Minnesota has been a national leader on creating awareness and driving broadband expansion across its state,” explains Brian Mefford, CEO of Connect Minnesota’s parent organization, Connected Nation. “We are proud to support the effort through this new mapping app that empowers citizens, businesses, community developers, and policy makers to make informed plans for high-speed Internet expansion in their communities.”

Since 2008, Connect Minnesota has served as the broadband mapping entity for Minnesota. Connect Minnesota has been able to gather and verify state-specific data on the availability, speed, location, and type of broadband services in order to create an accurate picture of the state’s broadband landscape. Starting this year, the program has also focused on gathering data on the adoption and availability of broadband at community anchor institutions across the state to identify the need for services at schools, libraries, and hospitals. The meeting of this milestone is a result of a several-month long process of aggressive outreach to providers and community anchor institutions across the state, and extensive verification and validation of the data collected from these entities.

The maps represent the coverage areas of 93 Minnesota broadband providers. The newly unveiled map confirms that approximately 84,391 households are still without any broadband service option at all. 95.55% of Minnesota households have access to broadband service of at least 768 Kbps downstream and 90.56% of rural Minnesota households have access. There are approximately 78,848 unserved rural households (excluding mobile and satellite service).

A public demonstration of the mapping app was held via webinar on Friday to encourage citizen feedback and to demonstrate the broadband expansion scenario building that can be achieved using the tool.

Connected Nation’s GIS team will continuously refine the maps as more data is gathered - relying upon citizen feedback as part of the validation process. Residents, businesses, and any interested party with knowledge of the state broadband landscape are asked to go to Connect Minnesota’s website to provide input that will be used to verify and ensure the highest level of accuracy for the broadband maps.

As the designated entity for broadband mapping and planning in the state of Minnesota, Connect Minnesota is a public-private partnership uniting local governments, businesses, and citizens in the goal of increasing broadband service in the state’s underserved areas. In December 2009, the U.S. Department of Commerce the National Telecommunications and Information Administration awarded Connect Minnesota $1.7 million in Recovery Act funding under the State Broadband Data and Development grant program (SBDD) to support the effort to increase the availability and use of high-speed Internet service in the state. The funding enables the state to collect data and develop maintain a detailed map of existing broadband service over two years and conduct planning efforts for a period of five years.

The data released are in compliance with the NTIA’s Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the SBDD grant program. Ultimately, these data will populate the comprehensive, interactive, and searchable national broadband map that NTIA is required by the Recovery Act to create and make publicly available by February 17, 2011.

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