In 2010, Wilkin County was listed by the FCC as one of the least served counties in Minnesota. In 2014, 67 percent of Watonwan County had access to broadband. (Broadband was defined with lower speeds back then.) Today 81 percent of the county has access to broadband speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up) and 81 percent has access to the 2026 speed goals of 100/20.
In 2011, MN2020 created a video on the importance of broadband in Wilkin County. The same video could be made in other communities today.
In seven years they have gone from one of the worst to number 20 for 2026 goals. They just need to find a way to extend the existing network(s). There are several providers in the area who provide service at 2026 goal speeds: Midcontinent, Red River Communications, Runestone Telephone, 702 Communications, and Wolvertone Telephone.
Wilkin County is also in line to receive $47,246 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 71 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: 80.84
- Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 80.84
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 39.47 out of 100.
- Find more articles on broadband in Wilkin County (http://tinyurl.com/zh64v29)
- 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!