About half of Martin County has access to broadband at speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up) and 100/20. It indicates that the broadband available in Martin County is good but only have of the county doesn’t have access. They need to find a way to extend the broadband they have. Unfortunately they have been in that position for a while. In 2014, 59 percent of the county had access to broadband (broadband was defined at a slower speed) not it’s 55 percent.
Martin County is in a challenging position. The two largest cities – Fairmont and Sherburn, along with the community Granada and its surrounding rural area, are relatively well connected. However, the remaining rural areas and communities throughout the county in some cases have no access to any broadband options at all. The digital divide challenges any provider to build a business case for expanding service offerings in the rural areas.
Incumbent providers have plans to improve some areas of Martin County, but the specifics have not been determined. Since Frontier will be receiving CAF II funding for Martin County, one consideration is a partnership to provide them additional funding for upgrading their networks beyond CAF II requirements and plans. CAF II broadband speed requirements (10/1) are lesser than those of the state grant program.
Similarly, BEVCOMM, operating the Granada Exchange, has share its intent to apply for grant funds to more of less upgrade the remainder of its unserved areas. Any grant application that the County pursues ought to factor in these plans by BEVCOMM so as to coordinate and avoid any overlapping plans.
Martin County is also in line to receive $1,618,420 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 2076 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: 55.64
- Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 54.06
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 50.22 out of 100.
- Find more articles on broadband in Martin County (http://tinyurl.com/h37zf6l)
- There is a matrix of Minnesota broadband adoption projects.
- Districts: CD 1
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!