For 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 Lac qui Parle (LqP) County stacked up:
- Household Density: 1.6
- Number of Households: 3,155
- Percentage serviced (without mobile): 99.36%
- Percentage serviced (with mobile): 99.36%
LqP is in great shape. The LqP Economic Development Authority and local provider (Farmers Mutual) received ARRA funding in 2010 to deploy FTTH through most of the county. The unusual thing about LqP is that the FTTH project didn’t include the county seat – because they had some broadband and therefore didn’t qualify for ARRA funding so the more rural areas leap-frogged ahead of Madison for better broadband access.
LqP had also worked on broadband adoptions programs. They have been part of Blandin initiatives (MIRC and BBC) through regional efforts. They have received national attention for their tricked out Computer Commuter and have been noted in several article for a hot location for “brain gain” – meaning a rural area where educated folks in the 30s-40s move to raise families.
LqP is a County that is well served and is making the most of that connectivity, especially for economic development.
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.