In 2014, 90 percent of Winona County had access to broadband. (Broadband was defined with lower speeds back then.) Today 82 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.
Winona is doing well and they got a recent Border to Border broadband grant to help them do even better…
the county will get $416,000 to continue broadband expansion into areas of Wilson, Homer, Richmond, Pleasant Hill and Wiscoy townships.
The total project cost is estimated to be $868,000, with a match by HBC covering the rest.
The project is expected to reach 111 households, 112 unserved businesses, and two community institutions currently unserved or underserved.
Winona County administrator Ken Fritz said the county would like to continue using the programs if the state continues providing grants.
They had received funding in the past as well…
Last year the county was awarded $314,500 to a project to expand broadband into the Witoka and Wilson areas, with HBC covering the rest of the near $1 million project cost. That project started in spring 2016 and affected an estimated 256 households, 117 businesses, 90 farms, nine commercial and industrial businesses, 18 home-based businesses, a school and other public institutions.
In 2015 the county also received $247,000 for broadband expansion in Elba and Norton townships, including Whitewater State Park. The overall project is estimated to cost nearly $775,000. That project will provide improved internet to an estimated 135 households, 70 businesses, Whitewater State Park, Whitewater Wildlife Management Area, Crystal Springs Fish Hatchery, a school and other public institutions.
Winona has been an involved community. They were a Minnesota Intelligent Rural Community (Blandin MIRC) community where among other projects they worked with Project FINE to provide digital inclusion training in multiple languages. Last summer (2016), Senator Franken’s team held listening session in the area to discuss broadband.
Winona County is also in line to receive $245,212 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 475 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: 82.13
- Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 81.17
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 41.93 out of 100.
- Find more articles on broadband in Winona County (http://tinyurl.com/hqsckxg)
- There is a matrix of Minnesota broadband adoption projects.
- Districts: CD 7
Senate: 21, 28
House: 21B, 28A
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!