Freeborn County Broadband 2014 Update: almost there

freebornFor 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 Freeborn County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 18.2
  • Number of Households: 13,177
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 95.79%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 95.79%

Freeborn is in good shape for broadband coverage although this still have a little further to go for ubiquitous coverage but in November 2013, Connect Minnesota charts showed that only 34 percent of Freeborn County had broadband access. I think that’s hopeful for the counties that are currently at less that 50 percent coverage. I know that Freeborn has been good about getting anchor tenants connecting; Albert Lea city upgraded their network from  3 Mbps to 50 in 2011.  And local politicians have been engaged on the topic.

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 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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