Purpose

The purpose of these case studies is to inform public discourse about the impact of investment in broadband infrastructure and adoption activities on community.

We looked at the following questions:

  • What impact have public investments in broadband infrastructure had on the community?
  • What community utilization efforts are underway in community?
  • What impact, if any, are they having?

Methodology

Community profiles were developed using a mix of quantitative and qualitative sources and methods, including:

  • Formulating Values: We used established formulas to calculate the economic impact of public investment in each community.  Though the numbers are imprecise, we believe they are representative.
  • County Data: We gathered data but found it difficult to track impact of better broadband because while the impact may be immediate, the tools that measure impact are not. Often the most recent data available dates from 2015 or 2016, before most of the networks had reached a critical mass.
  • Community Interviews: We spoke to representatives from each community to gather firsthand accounts of the value of broadband investments.  While we have included hard numbers whenever possible, we learned that “value” is in the eye of the user. For one it means turning a $400,000 business into $4 million business. For someone else it means helping two kids with math homework at the same time. For others it means keeping the local newspaper printing.

Thank you to the community members who helped our efforts:

Beltrami County

Crow Wing County

Goodhue County

Lake County

Sibley County

Measuring Impact of Broadband in 5 Rural MN Communities