Mahnomen County Broadband 2014 Update: at 55 percent coverage better broadband needs attention

mahnomenI’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 Mahnomen County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 3.5
  • Number of Households: 2,019
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 55.4%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 55.4%

Mahnomen County is clearly at a disadvantage. They were at less that 40 percent coverage in 2011; in fact the FCC listed Mahnomen as one of the 10 least served counties at that same time. So there’s been some improvement. But not much.

CenturyLink (in 2013) expressed interest in Connect American Fund (CAF) funding in Mahnomen. CenturyLink has also supported the local schools. (It was part of a settlement of sorts.) There’s room for more attention and it will require more attention to get them to a better place with broadband coverage.

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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