Nobles County Broadband Profile: Up to 76 percent access and awarded a broadband grant

noblesIn 2014, 60 percent of Nobles County had access to broadband. (Broadband was defined with slower speeds then.) They are currently up to 76 percent of access to speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up) and 59 percent coverage with speeds of 100/20. So there is progress and it appears that much of that progress is building broadband for the future. They just need to continue on that path.

Good news; Nobles County will benefit from a recent Border to Border broadband grant awarded to Lismore Telephone…

Lismore Cooperative Telephone Co. received a $2.94 million grant to create a hybrid fiber and wireless network that will eventually bring high-speed internet to the entire county. The co-op matched the $2.94 million grant one-to-one, creating a total project cost of $5,889,156.

The project entails square 500 miles in new wireless coverage, distributed through five towers. The co-op will also install over 82 miles of fiber optic cable. Wilmont and Leota will be built out completely with fiber as well as businesses and homes along the fiber transport route.

DEED estimates the project will serve 469 households, 1,060 businesses and six community anchor institutions — such as schools, libraries, medical providers and public safety entities — across Nobles County that currently do not have broadband access.

Unfortunately the Lismore application was challenged by an incumbent provider (Frontier). They said they had plans to serve Bigelow and so that town (after the Office of Broadband Development investigated) was removed from the project. Residents of that town are unhappy.

Nobles County is in line to receive $1,434,091 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 1794 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.

Nobles County is a Blandin Broadband Community, which means they have been working on broadband expansion and adoption – including a feasibility study, which would have been helpful with the Border to Border application.


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: 75.69
  • Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 59.25


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 45.56 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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