MN Broadband Fund Award: Region 5 Virtual Highway Project (Cass, Crow Wing and Morrison counties)

Almost $20 million in state grants have gone to 17 communities in Minnesota to expand broadband and make the case to legislators (and the general public) that such investments are wise and have a valuable Return on Investment. I wanted to delve into each project a bit to help us follow the money as it gets deployed. (See other awardee posts.)

 

Consolidated Telephone Cooperative (CTC), Region 5 Virtual Highway Project. Awarded $2 million to bring high-speed Internet to 247 unserved and 90 underserved premises in Cass, Crow Wing and Morrison counties. This is a shovel-ready first phase in a regional broadband development effort. The full project cost is $4.22 million. The remaining $2.22 million (53 percent) in matching funds will be supplied by a private investment made by CTC.

Community and Economic Development Impact: This project builds on a multi-sector, multi-year and multi-community strategic planning and implementation process for sustainable community and economic development led by the Region 5 Development Commission. Region 5 is the only region in the state where all five counties are classified as economically distressed.

Region Five (aka the Resilient Region) has been working hard on broadband for a while. They jumped on the discussion of broadband funds when Senator Schmit toured the state talking about the opportunity – even before he specifics of the grants were unveiled. In November, they were named one of 10 communities to the Blandin Broadband Community initiative. The Region is economically distressed but between the State funding for infrastructure and Blandin support for digital inclusion, they are in a great position to really push themselves ahead.

Just to help track progress, here are some recent stats on Cass, Crow Wing and Morrison Counties:

Cass

On broadband (Connect MN final stats from 2014):

  • Household Density: 4.9
  • Number of Households: 11,948
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 36.01%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 37.70%

Census quick facts (from 2013):

  • Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2009-2013:  $177,100
  • Per capita money income in past 12 months (2013 dollars), 2009-2013:  $25,287
  • Persons below poverty level, percent, 2009-2013:  16.4%
  • Private nonfarm establishments, 2012:  802
  • Private nonfarm employment, 2012:  6251

Crow Wing

On broadband (Connect MN final stats from 2014):

  • Household Density: 22.5
  • Number of Households: 26,033
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 36.66%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 59.76%

Census quick facts (from 2013):

  • Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2009-2013:  $180,300
  • Per capita money income in past 12 months (2013 dollars), 2009-2013:  $26,527
  • Persons below poverty level, percent, 2009-2013:  12.9%
  • Private nonfarm establishments, 2012:  2082
  • Private nonfarm employment, 2012: 25,368

Morrison

On broadband (Connect MN final stats from 2014):

  • Household Density: 11.3
  • Number of Households: 13,080
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 38.32%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 38.44%

Census quick facts (from 2013):

  • Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2009-2013:  $153,600
  • Per capita money income in past 12 months (2013 dollars), 2009-2013:  $23,753
  • Persons below poverty level, percent, 2009-2013:  12.9%
  • Private nonfarm establishments, 2012:  888
  • Private nonfarm employment, 2012: 8,307

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s