In 2014, only 16 percent of Douglas County has access to broadband. Today 75 percent of the county has access to speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up) but only 7 percent have access to broadband speeds of 100/20, which are the 2026 state broadband goal.
Douglas has done well to expand coverage in the last couple of years but to prepare for the future, they need to look at better broadband and continued expansion or they will be in the same position they were in 2014. The folks in Douglas County have been vocal. In March 2016, Minnesota Senate heard from community leaders, including Owen Miller from Douglas County about their frustration with local service.
The good news is that Douglas County will get a boost from two Minnesota State Broadband grants. Runestone Telecom Association received a grant of $700,674 that will bring high-speed Internet service to 267 households and 32 businesses in the Holmes City area. Runestone will build on a 2015 broadband grant to expand further into that area. Another broadband grant, this one for $68,240, was awarded to Gardonville Cooperative Telephone. The project will serve 28 unserved households and seven unserved businesses in the Lake Louise area.
Douglas County is also in line to receive $150,194 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 400 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 Douglas County ranked:
- Percentage served with 25/3 or better: 75.10
- Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 7.68
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 Douglas ranked:
DDI score of 39.99 out of 100.
- Find more articles on broadband in Douglas County. (http://tinyurl.com/jqpohsc)
- Districts: CD 7
Senate: 8, 12
House: 8B, 12A, 12B
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!