In 2014, 60 percent of Wadena County had access to broadband. (Broadband was defined with lower speeds back then.) Today 88 percent of the county has access to broadband speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up) and 46 percent has access to the 2026 speed goals of 100/20.
There has been steady improvement and improvement should continue with a recent Border to Border broadband grant…
A grant of $718,850 was awarded to the West Central Telephone Association in Wadena. The broadband expansion project will provide access for 174 unserved homes and 13 unserved businesses in Bluffton and Blowers townships in Otter Tail County and portions of Rockwood, Leaf River, North Germany and Wing River townships in Wadena County.
The total eligible project is $1.5 million, with a $778,755 local match.
“Receiving these grants for increased broadband access is essential for our area’s future prosperity,” said state Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria. “Greater access to broadband provides for better economic opportunities for our businesses and our workers, as well as outlets for students to do additional learning.”
Wadena was involved as a Blandin Get Broadband community, which is a precursor of sorts to the Blandin Broadband Communities. It helped them focus on increased broadband use with digital inclusion training and connected the local hospital to a satellite facility.
Wadena County is in line to receive $70,122 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 141 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: 88.23
- Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 46.69
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 43.92 out of 100.
- Find more articles on broadband in Wadena County (http://tinyurl.com/z7xgkz8)
- There is a matrix of Minnesota broadband adoption projects.
- Districts: CD 8
Senate: 02, 09
House: 02B, 09A
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!