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Pine County Broadband Taskforce Offering Survey on Internet Needs

In an effort to help bring better reliable broadband internet to the area, The Pine County Broadband Task Force is offering a survey to learn about residents’ internet needs and experiences.

The survey is being conducted in partnership with Aitkin County Growth, Kanabec County EDA, and the Mille Lacs Tribal Economy, who are taking part in the Blandin Foundation's Community Broadband Resources: Accelerate Program.

Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development has a goal for universal access to broadband internet with download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second and upload speeds of at least 20 megabits per second by 2026. Securing reliable internet has become one of Pine County's top priorities for this year since it ranks 84 of 87 in availability of high-speed internet statewide. Kanabec County ranked dead last.

County Board Chair Steve Hallan said the will survey be extremely helpful as they forward.

"Instead of playing a guessing game, let's get some real facts," Hallan told WCMP.

Hallan went onto say that he wants residents to be honest with their responses, stating that a frequent complaint he hears is that residents aren't able to work from home due to poor internet connectivity.

The data from that survey will be compiled and used as the county begins to court service providers to the area.

Surveys can be completed online by clicking the following link. A broadband speed test is also available through the Minnesota Rural Broadband Coalition. The speed test is a crowdsourced speed test meant to assist community effort.

Paper copies can be found at the Pine County Courthouse.

The survey must be completed by May 21st.

WCMP's full conversation is Commissioner Hallan is available on the On-Demand Podcast.

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