Mower County Broadband Profile: Better than 90 percent access

mowerMower County was 90 percent served in 2014. Today 95 percent of the county has access to broadband speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up) and 90 percent have access to speeds of 100/20, which is the 2026 speed goal. The efforts in Mower County seem to be led by county-seat Austin – from Google pitches to the Gig Austin vision for fiber.

The community is still focused on getting better broadband. Sen. Dan Sparks, DFL-Austin has been vocal (in 2016) about the need to support underserved and as well as unserved communities with State broadband funding…

District 27 Sen. Dan Sparks, DFL-Austin, introduced a bill late last week that would make sure cities like Austin and Albert Lea are eligible to receive current and proposed broadband funds after many existing grants and some initial bills this session limited the cities that would qualify. “We also want to make sure that cities like Austin or Albert Lea qualify,” Sparks said. At issue is the state’s Border-to-Border Broadband grants and some state statutes in regards to access to broadband funding across the state. Currently, many of the funding sources target unserved communities but not underserved communities.

And the local paper (Austin Daily Herald) is vocal about wanting more spending…

The House Majority continues to dismiss the need to expand rural broadband, which is especially essential for schools. Of the education budget “savings” we have from last year, a measly $7 million will be dedicated to broadband funding for schools and students in underserved areas of the state. This will create a wider digital divide in Greater Minnesota and force legislators to pick winners and losers when there is an opportunity to provide much needed statewide funding to rural districts.

Mower County is  in line to receive $1,760,503 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 2383 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: 94.78
  • Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 90.20


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 38.62 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!

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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