I am doing the annual look at broadband in each county – based on maps from the Office of Broadband Development and news gathered from the last year.
Kandiyohi has slipped from 79 to 86. They are in a tough position. They have been working on better broadband for years.
Last year, Consolidated Telecommunications Co. (CTC) was awarded a $4.94 million grant to improve serves in New London, Spicer and Willmar and Frontier was awarded a grant of $1.02 million to improve service in rural Kandiyohi County.
Unfortunately, the CTC project did not work out.
The County was going to match the grant with tax abatement bonds. Proceeds from the bonds ($5 million) would be loaned to CTC for the project. The debt would be paid from tax abatement revenues and property taxes which will be reduced or cancelled by the loan payments from CTC. The loan would be paid back fully by CTC with no impact to the tax base in Kandiyohi County. The project started with a series of open house meetings in the communities in the proposed service areas. The goal was to get people to sign up for service and pay $25 down payment to show their commitment to taking services.
Getting residents to sign up in advance was key to CTC moving forward. This become key because the financials substantially changed from the time of the grant application submission to the project buildout timeline. Interest rate increases drove up the cost of debt CTC would be incurring substantially. Despite encouragement from several sources – including Representative Baker – they did not get as many signed up as CTC needed to move forward.
One issue – CTC was looking for 50 percent of the residents to sign up and pay a deposit to move forward. What happened? More than 50% of the people in the project area signed up and more than 44% had sent in the $25 deposit at the time that CTC pulled the project.
LTD Broadband has been working to fill the gaps. They started building broadcast tower sites across the county summer 2017. And continued the expansion summer 2018, LTD Broadband recently expanded wireless service to the lakes area of Kandiyohi County with the installation of LTE equipment on water towers in Spicer, on Green Lake, in New London and a tower site by Long Lake.
Info on Access:
|Speeds||% served 2017||% served 2018|
The speeds reflect the Minnesota speed goals:
- 25 Mbps down and 3 up by 2022
- 100 Mbps down and 20 up by 2026
Current ranking for 100/20 access: 86