Wadena County Broadband Profile: current ranking 53

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.

Wadena County broadband ranking has dipped from 49 to 53. They are in that precarious place where most of the county has access to 23/5, which is adequate to do lots of things. SO they may not recognize that there’s a potential problem.  But as more people get faster speeds, applications will be designed for faster speeds and without a concerted effort to improve, Wadena may fall behind.

However there may have been improvements in 2018 that aren’t reflected in the chart below, as the local paper reports…

Unserved households and businesses in Wadena, Otter Tail and Todd Counties will be on the receiving end of high-speed internet access in 2018.

Townships receiving broadband include Wadena (Wadena), Compton (Otter Tail) and a small portion of Stowe Prairie Township (Todd).

West Central Telephone of Menahga and Sebeka received its third state grant and will be bringing high-speed internet service to 189 homes and 13 businesses next year.

According to West Central Marketing Director Geri Salmela, the telephone cooperative will be matching the state’s grant of $874,581 with a contribution of their own of $947,463.

The total cost of the project has been set at $1,822,044.

And certainly the latest grant awarded in the area wouldn’t be reflected…

West Central Telephone Association, Wadena Rural Phase III – $874,581. This last mile project will serve 189 unserved households and 13 unserved businesses within Compton Township in Otter Tail County as well as portions of Wadena Township in Wadena County and in Stowe Prairie Township in Todd County. In a funding partnership with the State of Minnesota and several regional development organizations, West Central Telephone Association will improve broadband service levels to 1 Gbps down and up, exceeding the 2026 state speed goal. Building a fiber to the home network capable of Gigabit broadband service will finally provide residents and businesses with the reliable connectivity they have asked for and need. Students and instructors will be able to complete their work from home; healthcare professionals will have access to medical records and the ability to provide telehealth services; and businesses and farmers will have access to applications and online tools to boost their efficiency. The total eligible cost is $1,822,044, with a $947,463 local match.

And people in the area are talking about broadband. In a debate between District 9A Candidates (Incumbent Rep. John Poston, R-Lake Shore, and DFL challenger Alex Hering) ended up  talking about broadband. And West Central Telephone’s President Bruce Kinnunen and General Manager/CEO Chad Bullock recently participated in legislative visits in St. Paul with the Minnesota Telecom Alliance for their annual Day on the Hill event.

Part of what initiates and continues the conversation is the region-wide efforts as a Blandin Broadband Community

The Resilient Region is a five county collaborative (Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd and Wadena) working to create a sustainable and inclusive region through the disciplines of housing, transportation, natural environment, and economic development to improve the quality of life of all residents. Broadband connectivity is an critical component of the Resilient Region Plan; in fact, they found that broadband touched every edge of the other projects they were working on – positioning them well to begin their work as a Blandin Broadband Community.

The Region’s connectivity priorities include: improved and expanded broadband access across the region with a focus on fiber, using technology to retain businesses and encourage entrepreneurism, ensuring Internet access for all children, and identifying additional funding and service partners.

Info on Access:

Speeds % served 2017 % served 2018
25/3 88.23 92.37
100/20 45.69 49.91

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: 53

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 (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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