Nobles County Broadband Profile: current ranking 24

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.

Nobles County broadband ranking has improved from 35 to 24. In early 2017 they received a MN broadband grant, that deployment may or may not be reflected in these latest numbers…

Lismore Cooperative Telephone Co. received a $2.94 million grant to create a hybrid fiber and wireless network that will eventually bring high-speed internet to the entire county. The co-op matched the $2.94 million grant one-to-one, creating a total project cost of $5,889,156.

The project broke ground in July 2017. And the county stepped up to provide $1 million in funding when planned funding fell through…

Earlier this year, LCTC was awarded a $2.94 million grant from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, but another $1 million in anticipated grant funding fell through. In need of additional funding to complete the project, representatives from the cooperative appeared before commissioners in April seeking a $3 million loan. Discussion later turned to bonding for the money.

The funding will come through tax abatement.

There are other forces pushing broadband too. Mediacom announced that Worthington will be part of the Gig upgrade. AT&T announced upgrades in the area. The school is going to get a broadband upgrade. The local paper looked at the potential economic impact of broadband in the area, based on the Blandin Foundation reports on community return on public investment on broadband.

Telecompetitor has taken a look at the process in Nobles County: feasibility study funded by the Blandin Foundation leading to a successful state broadband grant…

All stakeholders in the project report are pleased with the progress so far. There are some key lessons learned from this evolving project. They include:

  • Initial feasibility studies are crucial, and Nobles County cited working with professional fi rms like Finley Engineering and their partners as an important critical step.

  • There are many partners and stakeholders involved in a project like this and open and transparent communication throughout all steps is vital to success noted Nobles County officials.

  • Involving the community early on played an important role in success factors. Nobles County enlisted local community members to participate in the early studies, surveying community members about the need for broadband.

  • Fixed wireless access technology has vastly improved and it is now a very viable technology to bring quality broadband to unserved and underserved rural communities.

  • Grant money and other support funding mechanisms are required to bring quality broadband to very rural communities.

Info on Access:

Speeds % served 2017 % served 2018
25/3 75.69 79.24
100/20 59.25 77.18

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: 24

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

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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