The Moose Lake Star Gazette reports…
The Broadband Feasibility Study results, funded by Carlton County and the Blandin Foundation found that Carlton County is ranked 66th out of 87 counties in Minnesota broadband access. The ranking focused on broadband access to at least 25 MB download and 3 MB upload.
The report commented, “Carlton County is in a challenging position. With its geographic proximity to the Duluth/Superior area, many businesses and residents find it hard to believe how drastically the level of speeds diminishes within such a short distance from these population centers.” Broadband is, relatively speaking, good along the Interstate 35 corridor and the associated urban areas. Outside the city limits, broadband service suffers in most of the rest of the county where there is a lower population density.
CenturyLink and Frontier cover the rural areas and are upgrading their services in some areas with state and federal funding. Existing phone lines provide the broadband access but limit the signal available to 10 MB download and 1 MB upload – not meeting the state goal.
Without a change in technology development, two options are open for broadband service in rural areas. 1) A total rebuild of broadband delivery to every household and business in the county, urban and rural, would cost about $70 million, of which $40 million would come from federal and state grant funding. 2) A plan to connect all households and businesses in rural areas of the county would cost about $46 million, with a $30 million grant and $13 million organized locally.