Freeborn County well served thanks in part of Minnesota Broadband grants

freebornFreeborn County was well served in 2014 (95 percent coverage) and they are well served today with 99 percent access to speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up) and 94 percent access to 100/20. Freeborn has also been very lucky/good at getting Minnesota broadband grants.

Most recently BEVCOMM got $150,700 for a project that will serve 10 unserved households, six unserved businesses, nine underserved households and six underserved businesses in the rural Freeborn area in Freeborn County. The Cannon Valley Telecom project will improve access to health care and education. The total eligible project cost is $376,750, with a $226,050 local match.

In 2015, BEVCOMM got 149,625 to build out broadband infrastructure to provide high-speed Internet service to 43 households and one business in rural Freeborn in south-central Minnesota’s Freeborn County. Total project costs are $393,750. BEVCOMM will cover the remaining $244,125 (62 percent local match).

Freeborn County is also in line to receive $934,480 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 1,295 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 community has been vocal in their support of broadband funding. A year ago (Jan 2016) the Albert Lea Tribune had this to say about broadband…

Internet is becoming something that is not only a helpful tool, but a necessity — at least for our business.
We imagine we are not the only business in Freeborn County that relies on the Internet for much of its operations.


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

  • Percentage served with 25/3 or better: 99.44
  • Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 95.59


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 Freeborn ranked:

DDI score of 41.64 out of 100.

More info:

  • There is a matrix of Minnesota broadband adoption projects; it includes projects from this area.
  • Districts: CD 1
    Senate: 27
    House: 27A, 27B

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

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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