Kandiyohi County Broadband 2014 Update: 14 percent broadband coverage – but plenty of interest

kandiyohiFor 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 Kandiyohi County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 19.4
  • Number of Households: 16,732
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 13.18%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 57.47%

Kandiyohi was one of the original MIRC (Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities) partners. One of the projects I remember most was a local partnership with PCs for People and addition of a computer lab in the Somali Center. Technology helps prepare people for jobs and increase their quality of living but it is also a bridge to/for new immigrants to the area. They have been working on adoption with the residential and business communities. And the community has been host to some of Senator Schmit’s broadband tours.

The community has also been working on access – yet they still have only 14 percent coverage. As far back as 2007 they surveyed the community about broadband coverage; the efforts continue with another survey they are working on now. In 2013, Mediacom announced upgrades (DOCSIS 3.0) to several service areas, including Atwater and Sunberg in Kandiyohi County. They need more.

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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