In 2014, 31 percent of Swift County had access to broadband. (Broadband was defined with lower speeds back then.) Today 79 percent of the county has access to broadband speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up) and more than 30 percent has access to the 2026 speed goals of 100/20.
Clearly they have had some big gains since 2014.
In 2015, the benefited from a Border to Border broadband grant…
Friday the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced that Federated and Swift County had been awarded $4.95 million.
The project will deliver high-speed Internet service to 600 households, 425 businesses and 75 community institutions, DEED said. The project affects 13 of the county’s 21 townships concentrated on area just east of the Benson city limits.
The area in Swift County included in the project is most of each of the following townships in the eastern half of the county: Kerkhoven, Hayes, Pillsbury, Dublin, Kildare, Camp Lake, Benson, Torning, Cashel, Swenoda, Six Mile Grove and Clontarf.
However, there were sections along U.S. Highway 12 between Murdock and Kerkhoven that would be excluded from the project as well as some areas east of Benson between Minnesota Highway 9 and U.S. Highway 12. Much of the western half of the county already has fiber cable.
Total project costs are $12.5 million with $7.5 million (60 percent local match) coming through a loan from Swift County to Federated. Swift County’s Board of Commissioners plans to pass a bond issue early in 2016 with the proceeds being loaned to Federated for the project.
I’m not sure if the upgrades would have been completed before the last broadband maps were complete or if those improvements will be tracked in the next report. But it is a step in the right direction. They wll need to continue to expand and upgrade their connections if they want to meet the 2026 speed goals.
Swift County is in line to receive $32,335 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 122 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: 78.95
- Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 30.41
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 40.21 out of 100.
- Find more articles on broadband in Swift County (http://tinyurl.com/zfptnnz)
- There is a matrix of Minnesota broadband adoption projects.
- Districts: CD 7
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!