Crow Wing County is in Region 5 (the Resilient Region) and has been working with them on their broadband planning. In 2014, only 37 percent of Crow Wing had access to broadband (defined at a slower speed back then) now they have 87 percent coverage at speeds of 25/3 but only 33 percent coverage at speeds of 100/20, the 2026 Minnesota speed goal. So good work is happening but good work needs to continue, especially to reach the faster speed goals or Crow Wing will be in the same position ten years from now as they were two years ago.
In 2015, Consolidated Telephone Cooperative (CTC) received a $2 million Minnesota Broadband Grant to bring high-speed Internet to 247 unserved and 90 underserved locations in Cass, Crow Wing and Morrison counties. This year TDS was awarded a $3 million Minnesota Broadband Grant and will invest another $3 million to expand and improve rural broadband services in parts of Crow Wing and Cass Counties. Specifically, they will 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.
Projects funded by the state must be scalable to 100/20 so these new networks will help get Crow Wing covered.
Crow Wing County is also in line to receive $919,145 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 2,286 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.
The Office of Broadband Development released data on broadband covered in fall of 2016, based on information gathered in July 2016. Here’s how Crow Wing County ranked:
- Percentage served with 25/3 or better: 87.78
- Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 33.13
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 Cook ranked:
DDI score of 32.08 out of 100.
- Find more articles on broadband in Crow Wing County. (http://tinyurl.com/zechgaw)
- Districts: CD 8 / 10
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!