Lincoln County Broadband 2014 Update: Need the help they are getting from the MN Broadband Fund

lincolnI’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 Lincoln County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 4.7
  • Number of Households: 2,574
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 40.90%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 40.90%

Lincoln County could use some help. The good news is that they are getting some. I wrote about the project and will just borrow from what I said then…

With 40 percent broadband coverage, Lincoln County can certainly use the support and Connect Minnesota maps indicate that Lincoln has been hovering around that mark since 2011; the definition of broadband used for the maps in 2011 was slower – but percentage-wise the county remains drastically underserved. Yet I know there has been interest in improvements. A year ago, MVTV voiced an interest in serving Lincoln County with wireless services. (I’m not sure if the plan was to include Hendricks.)Mediacom upgraded services in three communities (Ivanhoe, Lake Benton and Tyler) in Lincoln in 2013; Hendricks did not make that shortlist. It would be nice to see the OBD funded project spur expansion from Mediacom and MVTV wireless too.

And here is a description of the funded project…

Interstate Telecommunications Cooperative (ITC), Hendricks Town FTTP. Awarded $700,000 to bring the town of Hendricks in Lincoln County service that surpasses state speed goals. Underserved customers that would benefit include 377 households and farms, 57 businesses, three home-based businesses and eight community anchor institutions. The full project cost is $1.87 million; the remaining $1.17 million (63 percent) match will be provided by a private investment made by ITC.

Community and Economic Development Impact: The Hendricks Town FTTP Project will promote rural economic development by providing access to state-of-the-art broadband services to 100 percent of the households and businesses in the funded service area. It will expand the educational, economic and health care opportunities for the community. It will also address public safety concerns in the area by delivering highly desirable broadband services to community anchor institutions and wireless towers in the area. The proposed network has the ability to provide broadband data speeds of 1 Gbps or more in the future. ITC and city leaders believe that sustainable broadband adoption will transform this underserved, low- income area into a highly productive community.

Now it looks like 377 households will get service, which doesn’t entirely close the gap but with a population of 2,574 it gets them closer.

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

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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