Cass County getting broadband with MN State funding but still a long way to go

cassCurrently 66 percent of Cass County has access to broadband at speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up). That isn’t good but it’s better than it was and it seems like it will get better – through state funding.

In 2014, Cass County’s coverage was only 36 percent. But they were part of a Minnesota grant project through CTC (Consolidated Telephone Cooperative), which received $2 million to bring high-speed Internet to 247 unserved and 90 underserved premises in Cass, Crow Wing and Morrison counties. So 66 percent today is a sizable increase.

Just recently, TDS received state funding to invest in Cass (and Crow Wing) County…

TDS Telecom (TDS) announced last week it would receive $3 million in Minnesota Dept. of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) funds and invest another $3 million to expand and improve rural broadband services in parts of Crow Wing and Cass Counties.

Elaborating, TDS said it would expand broadband service and high-speed wireless Internet access to serve more than 3,400 unserved households and a variety of local organizations. Included among the latter are more than 60 businesses, 142 small enterprises, and a number of community “anchor” institutions. The project will impact residents and businesses in parts of Backus, Hackensack, Ideal Corners, Pequot Lakes, Pine River, and Woman Lake, according to a TDS press release.

We should see increases after that investment too.

Cass is in line to receive $310,616 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 795 locations. Unfortunately CAF 2 recipients are only required to upgrade to 10/1 access. Many may choose to upgrade to better speeds but there are no requirements.

Cass County is part of Region 5 (the Resilient Region) which has been focused on broadband improvements and was a Blandin Broadband Community.

Numbers:

The Office of Broadband Development released data on broadband covered in fall of 2016, based on information gathered in July 2016. Here’s how Cass County ranked:

  • Percentage served with 25/3 or better: 66.92
  • Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 34.07

ranking-aitkin-to-clay

Mississippi State University Extension have come up with a ranking system to gauge the digital divide index (DDI) by county. (The lower the number the better – the state average is 40.66.) Here’s how Cass ranked:

DDI score of 58.67 out of 100.

More info:

  • Districts: CD 8
    Senate: 05 & 09
    House: 05A, 05B, 09A

I plan to profile each county in Minnesota – tracking broadband access, digital divide and annotated links to news of what’s happening with broadband in the county. I’m keeping it high level because there are 87 counties!

This entry was posted in County Profiles 2017, 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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