Martin County Broadband 2014 Update: 60 percent but poised to change

martinI’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 Martin County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 12.4
  • Number of Households: 9,035
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 59.17%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 59.17%

The bad news for Martin County is that they are not well served; they aren’t the worst but they still at less than 60 percent served. The good news is that Martin County qualified for a Minnesota Broadband Fund award through Dunnell Telephone…

Dunnell Telephone Co., City of Dunnell, Martin County. Awarded $625,000 as a 42 percent match for a $1.49 million project to build connections at state speed goals for 174 unserved households in Dunnell in Martin County. The remaining $867,650 (58 percent match) will be provided by Dunnell Telephone Co.

Community and Economic Development Impact: In addition to connecting local home-based businesses and providing local online learning opportunities, this project also increases access to health care services, as there are no local health care facilities in the area.

Also they were named a Blandin Broadband Community last fall…

Martin County hopes to increase access to computers and enhance skills and connectivity for all community members. There is a need for a better broadband opportunity and experience for our residents and businesses county wide. This will provide an opportunity that will benefit the residents and business in Martin County.

“On behalf of the Martin County EDA-IGNITE, we are excited that Martin County has been selected to become a Blandin Broadband Community. Broadband is an integral part of our infrastructure for our residents and businesses. We embrace the opportunity to work with the Blandin Foundation to enhance broadband in Martin County,” said Scott Higgins, Martin County Coordinator.

Leading their work is the Martin County Economic Development Agency. Together, with educational, nonprofit and business partners throughout the county, the EDA will rally local leaders to develop a sustainable model for broadband access and use in Martin County.

So they are on track to see progress.

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.

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