Scott County Broadband Profile: 96 percent access to 25/3 supported by county-built 10Gig backbone

In 201scott4, more than 99 percent of Scott County had access to broadband. (Broadband was defined with lower speeds back then.) Today 96 percent of the county has access to broadband speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up) and 88 percent has access to the 2026 speed goals of 100/20.

Scott County is well covered. In 2007, they started with a 94-mile optic ring. They told their story of saving several years ago at a Broadband Task Force Meeting

Scott County built a backbone with 146 strands of fiber (10Gbit). The county owns conduit but has contracts to share with public and private entities. This solves a lot of internal communications issues but they need to get out to the Internet. So they lease fiber with McCloud and connection to commercial providers through that and the 511 building (big telecom hub).

They ended up developing more than they wanted to build because providers were not as interested in helping them build a connection that might reach their potential clients. Also it ended up being cheaper to build.

Network is fully operations to all schools, libraries, government buildings in the County. They attracted the MNET. The ROI was immediate due to reduced charges to the County. The private providers are running it. For example, the schools were paying $58 per Mbit per student now they pay $6.83 per Mbit per student.

And outlined the benefits at an NTIA meeting years later

We (Scott County) saw disparity between cost and access. A T1 in SE Scott was about $5500/years; in NE Scott it was $900/year. This project means we now buy it for about $30/year. Scott County Government now pays $35,000/year less for better broadband now.

They have been part of the Metro County Fiber Interconnect – counties making concerted efforts to connect to each other.

Scott County is in line to receive $315,273 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 680 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: 96.10
  • Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 88.38

ranking-roseau-to-yellow-medicineMississippi 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 11.78 out of 100.

More info:

  • Find more articles on broadband in Scott County (                            

§  There is a matrix of Minnesota broadband adoption projects.

§  Districts: CD 2
Senate: 20, 55, 56
House: 20A, 55A, 55B, 56A

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

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