Pine County Broadband 2014 Update: less than 25 percent covered

pineI’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 Pine County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 7.9
  • Number of Households: 11,393
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 24.63%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 24.63%

Pine County is sitting at less than a quarter coverage. But they are working on better coverage. Pine County is actively working to pursue better broadband as a partner in the East Central Broadband Initiative. They were part of the East Central Broadband conference in April 2014; the conference is planned primary by community leaders and attended by community leaders, member and providers. One topic that came up was talking about broadband as a utility.

In January, MidContinent announced good news for Pine County, if they’re patient…

At the Dec. 17 city council meeting, MidContinent Communications announced that it plans to bring “gigabit internet” to the Pine City area by the end of 2017. The new service is 35 times faster than the national average and five times faster than MidContinent’s current top speeds.

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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