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 Lake County stacked up:
- Household Density: 1
- Number of Households: 1,784
- Percentage serviced (without mobile): 47.08%
- Percentage serviced (with mobile): 47.08%
Lake of the Woods sits with less than half the population served with broadband. The low population density makes it a tough business case – but the remoteness makes the broadband even more valuable to businesses and residents as opportunities for telehealth, online learning and ecommerce become available with better broadband.
Lake of the Woods has been a Blandin Broadband community; they worked on getting seniors getting, training businesses to use technology and public Wi-Fi spots.
So they’re building demand but what they really need is increased access.
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.