Cook County Broadband 2014 Update: Still working and work yet to be done

CookFor 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 Cook County stacked up:

  • Household Density: .7
  • Number of Households: 2,494
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 20.70%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 99.64%

Cook County has been working on broadband for as long as I’ve been involved in broadband (formerly, just Internet) in 1995. I can remember working with Danna Mackenzie (now at the Office of Broadband Development) on efforts to get dialup access back in the day. Part of the problem in that area is low population density, remote areas and a foundation of solid stone, which makes for difficult deployment.

BUT Cook County was a MIRC community. They are broadband adopters. They just need connectivity. It seems as if the county will get better service now that the ARRA-funded Lake County connection is done and Arrowhead Electric has completed their middle mile infrastructure. It is a county worth watching. The video below tells their story…

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 (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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