Olmsted County Broadband Profile: 98 percent coverage today but need to plan future upgrades

In 2014, 58 percent of Olmsted County had access to broadband. (Broadband was olmsteddefined with lower speeds back then.) Now they are 98 percent covered with speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up) but only 34 percent covered at 100/20, the speed goals for 2026.

This puts them in a precarious position. Much of the community may feel well served now but they will feel the pinch as more broadband is required for various applications.

The City of Rochester (in Olmsted County) started looking into community broadband options in the summer of 2016….

The report included a capital investment of about $53 million on the city’s behalf, a cost that would have to be issued in bonds, raising the total investment to near $67 million.

Alcatel-Lucent’s assumptions were also based on the new public utility securing a 30 percent market share of internet customers. While a low-cost and lower service option would see customers pay about $10 per month for broadband internet service, the study showed about 58 percent of customers paying $50 or more per month for service.

Given a 30 percent market share, Alcatel-Lucent projected the utility would be cash-flow positive within about four years, depending on whether phone and cable services were included.

Olmsted County is in line to receive $1,409,915 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 2942 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. Numbers:

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: 98.75
  • Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 34.00


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 21.12 out of 100.

More info:

  • Districts: CD 1
    Senate: 25, 26
    House: 25A, 25B, 26A, 26B

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 (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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