MN Broadband Fund Award: A closer look around Kittson, Marshall and Roseau Counties

OBD fund graphicAlmost $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.)

Wikstrom Telephone, Kittson, Marshall, Roseau Broadband Extension. Awarded $425,000 to bring fiber-to-the-home service to 73 unserved and 43 underserved locations in Kittson (15 premises), Marshall (50 premises) and Roseau (51 premises) counties. The total project costs are $943,827; the remaining $518,827 (55 percent local match) will be provided by Wikstrom.

Community and Economic Development Impact: The project leverages Wikstrom’s nearly 1,200 mile middle-mile and distribution fiber facilities to serve the grant project areas. Among other improvements in community and economic development capacity, broadband connectivity in these remote areas of northwestern Minnesota will enable more effective teleworking, which creates more and new employment opportunities for households. It also opens up additional labor force capacity for employers regardless of location.

Both Kittson and Roseau received ARRA stimulus funds; Kittson through a project with Wikstrom and Roseau through a project with Sjoberg Cable. (Sjoberg has also received a MN Broadband Funding to expand broadband in Roseau.) It’s an area with very low household density (1-3). The broadband coverage is wanting – between 43-61 percent.

Just to help track progress, here are some recent stats on Kittson County:

On broadband (Connect MN final stats from 2014):

  • Household Density: 1.8
  • Number of Households: 1,986
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 43.08%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 43.08%

Census quick facts (from 2013):

  • Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2009-2013:  $68,700
  • Per capita money income in past 12 months (2013 dollars), 2009-2013:  $26,927
  • Persons below poverty level, percent, 2009-2013:  9.8%
  • Private nonfarm establishments, 2012:  146
  • Private nonfarm employment, 2012:  1,166

Just to help track progress, here are some recent stats on Marshall County:

On broadband (Connect MN final stats from 2014):

  • Household Density: 2.2
  • Number of Households: 3,981
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 61.41%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 61.41%

Census quick facts (from 2013):

  • Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2009-2013:  $88,100
  • Per capita money income in past 12 months (2013 dollars), 2009-2013:  $26,834
  • Persons below poverty level, percent, 2009-2013:  7.9%
  • Private nonfarm establishments, 2012:  261
  • Private nonfarm employment, 2012:  1,670

Just to help track progress, here are some recent stats on Rosaeu County:

On broadband (Connect MN final stats from 2014):

  • Household Density: 3.7
  • Number of Households: 6,300
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 45.67%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 45.67%

Census quick facts (from 2013):

  • Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2009-2013:  $103,800
  • Per capita money income in past 12 months (2013 dollars), 2009-2013:  $25,650
  • Persons below poverty level, percent, 2009-2013:  9.7%
  • Private nonfarm establishments, 2012:  411
  • Private nonfarm employment, 2012:  7,142
This entry was posted in MN, MN Broadband Fund Awards by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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