Pope County Broadband Profile: 62 percent have access & working on efforts

popeIn 2014, 31 percent of Pope County had access to broadband. (Broadband was defined with lower speeds back then.) Today 62 percent of the county has access to broadband speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up) and only 24 percent have access to the 2026 speed goals of 100/20.

There has been some action in the community. In 2015

The Pope County Housing and Redevelopment Authority with Economic Development powers (HRA/EDA) approved a payment of up to $3,000 (5-to-1 vote) to bring a fiber optic line to the Massman Automation building in Villard. …

“Currently the speed is 10 megabytes per second download and one megabyte per second upload, which is absolutely inadequate to serve any businesses in this area,” Dreher said.

Dreher said the good news is that Verizon is going to put up a cell tower on Highway 28 near Villard and has selected Runestone Telecom out of Hoffman to provide the fiber optic line for the cell tower. Dreher said he did a lot of behind-the-scenes work to get Runestone to bring the fiber optic line down Grove Avenue so it will go right by Massman.

The fiber optics will provide 100 mbps up/100 mbps down which will greatly improve the service to Massman.

And in 2017

Not everyone in Pope County has access to high-speed Internet, and county officials are working to improve that access and to provide faster speeds in all areas of the county.

The first step in that effort is to determine what areas of the county are lacking access and speed and what residents would like to see improved.  A Pope County Initiative group, headed by Information Technology Director Donna Martin, is currently working to improve Internet access for everyone in the area.  And, to measure the current level of interest in higher speed Internet access, the team is conducting a survey, which is being mailed to every household in the county.  The survey is  designed to get opinions on current and needed Internet access and seeks responses.

But more is needed if they want to meet speed goals in 2022 or 2026.

Pope County is in line to receive $33,275 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 58 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: 62.73
  • Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 24.33


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 43.02 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 (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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