Lyon County Broadband Profile: current ranking 29

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.

Lyon County has gone from ranking of 86 to 29! They went from no access to 100/20 to almost 73 percent. There was a concerted effort for improvement and that efforts continues. Midco received a state grant of $623,000 to serve 1,029 unserved households, 29 unserved businesses and 11 unserved community institutions in the communities of Porter, Taunton, Minneota, Ghent and Canby in Yellow Medicine and Lyon counties. That has clearly made a difference.

Late in 2017, Woodstock received a state broadband grant to improve broadband in parts of Lyon County…

Through the Woodstock Telephone Company, Balaton will benefit from a $413,009 state grant, combined with a local match of just over $1 million. The last mile project will serve 305 underserved households, 28 underserved businesses and six underserved community anchor institutions in the city of Balaton.

In its partnership with the state, Woodstock will improve broadband service levels to 1 Gbps down and 1 Gbps up, exceeding the 2026 state speed goal.

In Spring of 2018, the county released the results of a feasibility study

The studies looked at two scenarios—building fiber to the study area and building a hybrid combination of wireless technology and fiber. The wireless network designed by Finley is intended to supply at least 25 Mbps download to rural homes in the county, which is a significant improvement for those without good broadband today. Some customers will be able to get even faster speeds on the wireless network.

However, we know the county’s goal is to eventually have fiber everywhere and so implementing a wireless network would not be a permanent solution. All of the broadband trends in the country show that the amount of bandwidth needed by a typical home will keep growing, and at some time in the future a wireless network would become obsolete in the same manner that has happened in the past with dial-up and DSL broadband.

We view the hybrid fiber and wireless solution and a great first step towards improving broadband. This option would bring fiber immediately to about a third of the rural homes in the county, including the towns of Green Valley, Cottonwood, Amiret, and Florence. And the fiber constructed for this scenario is a first step in getting fiber closer to everybody in the county. We think a reasonable business plan is to start with the hybrid option and extend fiber to everybody over time.

Our analysis shows that it is not economically feasible to build fiber everywhere in the rural parts of the county using the existing Border-to-Border grant program—the 50% grant matching in that program is not enough to create a sustainable network. However, the hybrid fiber and wireless solutions all look to be economically viable.

Info on Access:

Speeds % served 2017 % served 2018
25/3 72.37 80.71
100/20 0 72.77

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: 29

This entry was posted in County Profiles 2018 by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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