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Here’s a serious reason you need a broadband connection in Minnesota: If you can’t connect to the state website, you can’t buy a fishing license. And if you don’t have a license, you can’t fish! The Minnesota Post’s reporter Sharon Schmickle writes about the need for broadband access in remote areas of the state. She goes to Cook County (above), where residents will vote soon on a sales tax to fund, among other development projects, a fiber optic network. “The plan is to make high-speed Internet access, cable TV, and telephone service available to every home and business,” Schmickle writes.

Cook County is applying for federal broadband money, arguing that slow, dialup connections are hurting local businesses. A realtor says he lost a sale to some doctors at the Mayo Clinic when the buyers learned they would have to rely on satellite connection to the Internet. “The business community in Cook County desperately needs broadband,” the application said. 

This is an interesting story because it collects on-the-ground information about what small communities are doing. Windom (pop. 4,490) is one of the first cities to provide fiber-to-the-home service. In Monticello, however, a similar project has been blocked by an incumbent provider, the local telephone service. The city and the telephone company are now in court.

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