Dakota County Broadband 2014 Update: Top marks for anchor tenant access

DakotaFor 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 Dakota County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 258.9
  • Number of Households: 152,060
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 64.18%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 99.9%

I was surprised at the low coverage in Dakota County when mobile is out of the equation. Dakota County has been a standout in terms of building networks to anchor tenants and to other counties. (David Asp has been instrumental in that effort!) Building a county-wide network has saved Dakota County a ton of money in telecom fees alone; they went from $700,000 to $15,000. Dakota County has received awards for its digital efforts.

But at  residential level they are still at only 64 percent coverage without wireless. I know they have had plans to work with third party providers in an open access model to provide broadband to local businesses – perhaps that is an option for residential too.

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.

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