NORTH MANKATO — The threat to rural Minnesota used to be measured mostly by the lack of good paying jobs needed to keep young people staying in or moving to small towns.
Bill Coleman says the presence or absence of dependable, speedy broadband service is now the key to rural Minnesota’s success or failure.
“Even the smallest manufacturer now requires a fiber connection before they’ll move to a location,” Coleman, owner of Community Technology Advisors, told leaders from the nine-county region.
And it’s not just the ability to attract businesses and jobs that requires solid broadband service, it’s become a top requirement for young people considering moving to the area.
“More people say they won’t move to a place that doesn’t have connectivity.”
And he said the use of devices for telemedicine, in livestock and crop production, and other areas of daily life are only going to grow in rural areas.
Coleman spoke at Region Nine Development Commission’s Connect Rural Broadband Summit in North Mankato Thursday.