Koochiching County Broadband 2014 Update: Paul Bunyan’s GigaZone could help

koochichingFor 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 Koochiching County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 1.9
  • Number of Households: 5,874
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 74%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 74%

Given the population density of Koochiching, their coverage is pretty good compared to others in their shoes. Although I bet that’s a tough sell to 26 percent of the county that isn’t served.

They have some engaged providers in the area. The Northeast Service Coop received ARRA funding to build out middle mile fiber a couple of years ago within eight counties, including Koochiching. With middle mile in place, it makes it easier for a last mile provider to come in.

Koochiching is served (at least in part) by Paul Bunyan; they are extending their GigaZone. That seems like good news to Koochiching. We could see more coverage in the area through them.

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.


This entry was posted in County Profiles (2015), MN by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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