For 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 Douglas County stacked up:
- Household Density: 21.2
- Number of Households: 15,289
- Percentage serviced (without mobile): 16.21%
- Percentage serviced (with mobile): 16.21%
Douglas County is not going to make the stand speed goals in 2015. Alexandria is the biggest city in Douglas County. The Mayor of Alexandria sent a letter to the Winona Daily News last fall reminding Legislators to remember their rural roots and need for broadband during sessions. So the interest and motivation is there. In 2013, Alexandria was host to the state Broadband Task Force.
They are several digital inclusion efforts happening in the area – such as a PCs for People efforts and digital literacy training. Alexandria is home to a data center, so you’d think there would be infrastructure to support it in the county.
But with interest and motivation and digital inclusion efforts – they still hover at 16 percent coverage.
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.