In 2014, 66 percent of Rock County had access to broadband. (Broadband was defined with lower speeds back then.) Today 68 percent of the county has access to broadband speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up) and 66 percent has access to the 2026 speed goals of 100/20.
Rock County is a haves and have-nots community. Folks who have broadband have good broadband and the rest have nothing. They need to find a way to extend the good service they have, which is often easier said than done.
They did get a Border to Border state grant in 2015…
Rock County Broadband Alliance (RCBA), FTTP project. Awarded $5 million to deploy fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) service for approximately 1,085 underserved and 265 unserved locations in Rock County. The total project costs are $12.85 million; the remaining $7.85 million (61 percent local match) will be provided by Alliance Communications Cooperative as an equity infusion to RCBA, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Alliance. Locations include 1,261 households and farms, approximately 68 businesses and 21 anchor institutions in the Jasper, Beaver Creek and Hardwick town and rural areas surrounding Luverne.
Community and Economic Development Impact: The project will bring FTTP service to all remaining unserved and underserved locations in Rock County, bringing to 93 percent coverage all businesses and households in the county. Education, energy efficiency, public safety and health care will improve, stimulating new jobs and economic growth. In particular in Rock County, access to health care is becoming more reliant on broadband infrastructure for both patients and health care professionals. For example, in remote rural locations, physicians who are on-call from their homes would be able to log into a patient’s chart and respond to a nurse’s request or see follow-up testing. Home monitoring capabilities help patients of all ages remain in their homes with high quality care, reducing health care costs and ensuring stronger community quality of life. Full county broadband coverage will provide significantly more reliable and faster communications for first responders and public safety officials.
They ran into some troubles with prevailing wage issues.
Rock County is in line to receive $3,967in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 9 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.
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: 68.17
- Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 66.32
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 40.63 out of 100.
- Find more articles on broadband in Rock County (http://tinyurl.com/jjeesst)
- There is a matrix of Minnesota broadband adoption projects.
- Districts: CD 1
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!