Clearwater County Broadband 2014 Update: From unserved to served in a few short years

ClearwaterFor the upcoming weeks I’m working on a County-by-County look at the State of Broadband in MN. My hope is to feature a county a day (in alphabetical order). In November, Connect Minnesota released their final report on broadband availability. Here is how Clearwater County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 3.4
  • Number of Households: 3,527
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 99.64%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 99.64%

Like Clay County, Clearwater is another county that went from one of the least served in an FCC report in 2010 to pretty good coverage in 2015. Actually it looks like it didn’t take that long for Clearwater to catch up. In October 2010, the Minnesota Broadband Task Force met and discussed the first release of the Minnesota Connect data – back then it indicated that at the time only 4 percent of Minnesota had access to fiber – yet 90 percent of Clearwater County had access to fiber. It’s a small state with a small population, but it’s still doing quite well.

I think it’s worth noting that MN House Telecommunications Committee visited Clearwater in 2007. So they have been talking about broadband for a long time. Talk can often lead to action!

My hope is that these county-specific posts will help policy makers and county residents understand where they stand in terms of broadband access. Assuming it might get forwarded to folks who don’t eat and sleep broadband I wanted to provide a little background on broadband to help set the stage…

How does Minnesota define broadband?

The 2015 broadband goal for Minnesota is ubiquitous access to speeds of 10-20 Mbps (down) and 5-10 Mbps (up). These numbers actually reflect 6-10 Mbps up because Minnesota goals are a little out of sync with standard federal measurements. Connect MN measured access with and without including mobile access as it is often considered a slightly different service, in part because of the data caps involved with wireless services. (Data caps can make wireless an expensive primary broadband connection – especially for a household.)

Learn how the other Minnesota counties rank.

How is Minnesota working to promote border to border broadband?

In 2014, the Legislature approved $20 million for broadband grants to support broadband expansion in Minnesota. You can find a list of applicants online. The hope is the broadband sector is that more funding will be made available in 2015.

This entry was posted in County Profiles (2015), Digital Divide, MN by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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