In 2014, 63 percent of Redwood County had access to broadband. (Broadband was defined with lower speeds back then.) Today 41 percent of the county has access to broadband speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up) and 34 percent have access to the 2026 speed goals of 100/20. So they are slipping.
Redwood has been working on Broadband. They are a Blandin Broadband Community, which means they have been working as a community to increase broadband use and expansion. In 2013, they received a feasibility study that had some recommendations…
It has been the focus of this study for Redwood County is to pursue public/private partnerships, likely with the incumbent service providers. In any scenario, it is likely that the residents of Redwood County will need to contribute, in the form of taxes, in order to make development of a county-wide broadband network attractive to potential partners. Success in grant funding would also be a factor on whether the ultimate FTTH system or an FTTN/DSL system can be built.
1) A first step should include contacting RUS to discuss the project and available RUS loans and grants.
2) After that, meetings should be scheduled with each potential service provider partner to share the report and discuss cooperative efforts toward entering into a long term agreement.
3) Engaging the League of Minnesota Cities or other organizations that may be useful in determining the best path to choose in organizing Redwood County legally to enter into agreements with RUS and partners.
4) Engaging, local, state, and national politicians and their staff’s may be helpful in gaining support for any non-traditional track to implementing broadband in Redwood County.
Redwood County is going to get some help with a Border to Border grant
The Arvig awarded project will serve 15 unserved households and 20 unserved businesses near Morgan.
Arvig-Redwood Telephone will improve service levels to this rural area, which is home to Minnesota’s annual Farmfest and relies on quality broadband service for precision agriculture applications and to monitor crops and livestock. The total eligible project cost is $62,218, with a $34,220 local match.
Redwood County is in line to receive $278,818 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 415 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: 41.51
- Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 34.37
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 34.48 out of 100.
- Find more articles on broadband in Redwood County (http://tinyurl.com/hxhbysd)
- There is a matrix of Minnesota broadband adoption projects.
- Districts: CD 7
Senate: 16, 22
House: 16A, 16B, 22B
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!