Is your MN county served, unserved or underserved with broadband? State funding may depend on it.

The Office of Broadband Development maintains maps and data that can help you figure out where your county stands in terms of broadband availability. (If fact they just announced that updated maps and data will be available in July (2016).)bb chart

The info in this spreadsheet isn’t new – but I was pleased to get info on “Estimated Availability of Broadband Service by County” in spreadsheet form. It includes terrestrial broadband, NOT mobile. And the data is from February 2015 – so if someone in your county has been hustling with added connections in last year it won’t be as helpful. For better or for worse, if you haven’t seen much change on the ground, the info may still be pretty accurate.

I like it in spreadsheet form because you can slice and dice it a little more easily.

Currently the legislature is looking at how to divvy up any broadband grant funding. Should it go to unserved areas or underserved areas? And what level of connectivity should it fund. This is especially important in light of CAF II funding – the funding that CenturyLink, Windstream, Frontier have received from the FCC to improve their networks. They are getting a lot of money ($86 million a year collectively) but they are only required to provide serves up to 10 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up.

The old State definition/goal for broadband was 10-20 Mbps down and 5-10 Mbps up. The Legislature is toying with new definitions/goals of 25/3 by 2022 and 100/20 by 2026. Although they haven’t settled on anything yet.

So wondering how your county will be poised, check a look at the data. What will funding decision mean to you? The Legislature is still looking at everything so if you have an opinion, be sure to let them know.

This entry was posted in Funding, MN, Policy 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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