Fillmore County broadband access is slipping

fillmoreFillmore County broadband status is slipping. In 2014, 69 percent of the county had access to broadband (broadband was defined with slower speeds); now 59 percent of the county has access to broadband as speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up) and 44 percent have access to 100/20. Unless they take action, their standing will continue to slip.

Just before the 2014 check in on the county, Fillmore had seen a leap in access (from 7 to 69 percent) in large part due to upgrades CenturyLink made with CAF 2 funding. Unfortunately, it looks like those upgrades were not uniformly enough to poise Fillmore for better broadband in the future.  Fillmore County is  in line to receive $924,070 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 1009 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.

There seems to be some mixed views on broadband in the community. In May, the Fillmore County Journal suggested that broadband should not be a priority…

If you ask me, don’t waste $100 million on increasing Internet speeds. Direct those funds toward the aesthetics of small town Minnesota. There’s no sense in increasing Internet speeds to dilapidated buildings. We need to get our priorities straight.

Later last summer, however, there was a public meeting in Preston where 30-40 people came to talk about broadband, specifically to talk about the Minnesota Broadband grant project. AcenTek, one local provider, was there talking about their plans for updating connectivity to FTTH. Fiber is their long plan but they can only afford to do so many upgrades at a time.

AcenTek did get a grant for $1,777,936 to serve 400+ households , 42 businesses and 1 community anchor institution in the rural Lanesboro area. The county is chipping in on a local match of $2.9 million. AcenTek is promising 1 Gigabit service.

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 Fillmore County ranked:

  • Percentage served with 25/3 or better: 59.00
  • Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 44.11

ranking-clearwater-to-jackson

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 Fillmore ranked:

DDI score of 45.13 out of 100.

More info:

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!

Post updated 2/18/2017

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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