Just over half (57 percent) of Lincoln County has access to broadband at speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up) and only 40 percent have access to speeds of 100/20, which is the Minnesota speed goal for 2026. In 2014, Lincoln’s broadband coverage was only 40 percent coverage. (The definition of broadband was slower back then.) Depending on which number you focus on – they have seen some improvement – probably in large part to a Border to Border grant in 2014 for $700,00 to Interstate Telecommunications Cooperative (ITC) to improve access in Hendricks for 377 households and farms, 57 businesses, three home-based businesses and eight community anchor institutions.
It’s clear that as the definition of broadband changes a county needs to keep up, either through incremental upgrades or by focusing on long term solutions, which is what Lincoln seems to be doing. In 2016, Lincoln began a concerted push for better broadband when County Commissioners heard from Vince Robinson on the importance of fiber and focusing on improvement for underserved and as well unserved communities. More recently, Lincoln is partnering with five other counties (Murray, Pipestone, Lyon, Yellow Medicine and Chippewa) to do a regional broadband study to determine the feasibility of bringing broadband service to unserved rural areas in the six counties.
Lincoln County is also in line to receive $390,651 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 401 locations. 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 they ranked:
- Percentage served with 25/3 or better: 57.27
- Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 40.40
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 they ranked:
DDI score of 49.36 out of 100.
- Find more articles on broadband in Lincoln County (http://tinyurl.com/jxqwlab)
- There is a matrix of Minnesota broadband adoption projects.
- Districts: CD 7
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!