In 2014, 38 percent of Faribault County had access to broadband. Today 81 percent of the county has access to speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up) but only 49 percent have access to broadband speeds of 100/20, which are the 2026 state broadband goal.
Faribault has done well to expand coverage in the last couple of years but to prepare for the future, they need to look at better (faster) broadband and continued expansion or they will be in the same position they were in 2014.
A new Minnesota Broadband grant will help expand and upgrade broadband. Blue Earth Valley Telephone Co. got $152,828 to help serve 18 unserved households (including farms), eight unserved businesses, two underserved households and three underserved businesses in rural Winnebago in Faribault County. Blue Earth Valley Telephone will improve services that will help livestock and grain farmers in the region. The total eligible project cost is $382,070, with a $229,242 local match.
Faribault County is also in line to receive $176,448 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 256 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.
Thanks to Jim Beattie for more info (I’m pulling from comments below):
Faribault County is mostly served by BEVCOMM and Mediacom. BEVCOMM is a rural ILEC that is not covered by CAF 2 funding, but has recently opted to accept ACAM model support, which will replace rural High Cost USF support.
BEVCOMM is a motivated local provider, making a concerted effort to serve the area’s broadband needs. It has received two Border to Border broadband grants in the last two years in Faribault County, and another 4 grants in other rural areas it serves in Freeborn, Martin and LeSueur counties. The local match for these grants was entirely funded by BEVCOMM, without any local city, township or county funds.
The CAF 2 funding designated for Faribault County will be received by Frontier Communications, the local provider in the community of Kiester, MN. The 2010 census indicated that there were 246 households in Kiester, which is likely reduced in 2017 given demographic trends in Faribault County. So the 256 locations covered by CAF 2 funding covers most, if not all, of the Frontier service area there.
The Office of Broadband Development released data on broadband covered in fall of 2016, based on information gathered in July 2016. Here’s how Faribault County ranked:
- Percentage served with 25/3 or better: 81.77
- Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 49.13
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 Faribault ranked:
DDI score of 45.13 out of 100.
- Find more articles on broadband in Faribault County. (http://tinyurl.com/jzwv3gx)
- Districts: CD 1
Senate: 23, 27
House: 23A, 27A
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!