BOYD, Minn. (AP) - The high-speed Internet capability that's an afterthought in big cities and regional centers is spreading ever deeper into the nation's countryside.

It has been nudged along by billions in federal stimulus dollars and state efforts to expand a key amenity for both quality of life and business competitiveness.

Still, the Federal Communications Commission reports that as of last year 19 million Americans still lived in an area without a fixed broadband connection, most of them in rural towns and on tribal reservations.

Every state has a commission or special project to measure broadband progress, but some are doing more.

For its part, Minnesota is trying to get to universal access by 2015 of ultrafast service. But even advocates concede that'll be tough. The state is at about 75 percent now.

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