Polk County Broadband Profile: 98 percent coverage with an engaged provider

polkIn 2014, more than 98 percent of Polk County had access to broadband – due I’m sure in part of receiving a ARRA grant through Halsted Telephone. (Broadband was defined with lower speeds back then.) Today 91 percent of the county has access to broadband speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up) and  81 percent have access to the 2026 speed goals of 100/20.

Polk is in pretty good shape but they’re heading in the wrong direction. They are losing ground as the definition of broadband changes but they have a provider that is engaged so improvement is likely.

Polk County did benefit from a Border to Border grant through Halsted Telephone in 2014…

Halstad Telephone Co., Halstad Tract MN 11902500 FTTH. Awarded $1.65 million to provide broadband service to 249 unserved locations in Polk County. The full project cost is $3.3 million; the remaining $1.65 million (50 percent) match will be provided by a private investment made by Halstad Telephone. This project surrounds the outskirts of Crookston on all sides except the west side. Halstad’s existing service area will help provide middle mile redundancy to the proposed project area.

Community and Economic Development Impact: The project area is highly agricultural. U.S. Department of Agriculture research shows employment grows faster in counties that have greater broadband Internet access than in similarly situated rural counties without broadband access. The research also states the farm sector is more likely to embed broadband Internet access into productivity, as its basic inputs are more fixed than other sectors of the economy.

Polk County is in line to receive $195,223 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 259 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:

  • ranking-mower-to-rock
  • served with 100/20 or better: 80.89

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 30.15 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

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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