In 2014, 65 percent of Watonwan County had access to broadband. (Broadband was defined with lower speeds back then.) Today 65 percent of the county has access to broadband speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up) and 64 percent has access to the 2026 speed goals of 100/20.
The broadband available in Watonwan is good broadband – but it’s not ubiquitous. The good news is that a recent Border to Border grant should help…
New Ulm Telecom Inc., Hanska – $200,397. This project will serve 14 unserved households and 32 unserved businesses in Lake Hanska Township in Brown County and Riverdale Township in Watonwan County. New Ulm Telephone will improve service levels in an area populated with farms and home-based businesses. The total eligible project cost is $445,326, with a $244,929 local match.
It’s not a huge project but might build a momentum.
They were also part of a larger project in 2015 when MVTV Wireless got a grant to improve access for a number of counties…
MVTV Wireless Middle Mile, Southwestern Minnesota, $808,080
This project will improve services to 6,000 households and businesses that are MVTV customers in 20 southwestern Minnesota counties, with leverage possibilities for another 29,000 customers. The counties are Blue Earth, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac Qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, Meeker, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Pipestone, Rock, Redwood, Renville, Sibley, Swift, Watonwan and Yellow Medicine. Total project costs are $1.85 million. MVTV will cover the remaining $1.04 million (56 percent local match).
Community and Economic Development Impact: The project will improve broadband access and speeds for more than 3,000 farm-related businesses and 6,000 rural residents across nearly 30,000 square miles.
Watonwan County is also in line to receive $679,539 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 821 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: 65.26
- Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 64.28
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 49.87 out of 100.
- Find more articles on broadband in Watonwan County (http://tinyurl.com/jpnf6xv)
- There is a matrix of Minnesota broadband adoption projects.
- Districts: CD 1
House: 23A, 23B
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!