Becker: ranks last among counties for access to 100/20 broadband – 87 out of 87: code red

Becker County is in a precarious position. They might make the speed goals for 2022, but they have little chance of making the 2026 goal. The reason that gap is a problem is that the majority who today are feeling okay about their 25/3 access are not motivated to mobilize for improvement to meet the impending 2026 goals.

Percentage of Served Population by Speed and Date
Becker 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 6.22 12.95 6.58
25/3 (2022 goal) 91.36 88.94 69.41

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

In 2016, Becker County benefitted from a MN State Broadband grant that built a network that exceeds Minnesota’s 2026 goals:

  • 2016 – PAUL BUNYAN COMMUNICATIONS HUBBARD, BECKER & ITASCA COUNTIES – GRANT: $1,742,232
    This last mile project will serve 785 unserved households, 26 unserved businesses, 2 unserved community anchor institutions and 143 underserved households and 2 underserved businesses in a multi-county region in north central Minnesota. In a funding partnership with the State of Minnesota and Itasca County, Paul Bunyan will improve service levels in the project area to 1 Gigabit service, exceeding the 2026 state speed goal of 100 Mbps by 20 Mbps.

There are seven providers in Becker County, but much of the area is covered only by one (according to the map below – where light green represents areas with one provider, but one that is not a national provider).

Becker was also in line for $821,889 in CAF 2  (federal) funding to cover 2,341 locations. Unfortunately, CAF 2 only requires providers to build to 10/1 Mbps access. This might explain some of the county’s strides towards the 2022 goals of 25/3. That level of service clearly is  better than 10/1, but it isn’t likely to meet future needs.

Given that there is one provider for much of the county, Becker County could try to partner with them for a future MN broadband grant. Or find a provider who might be interested in coming into the area.

Checklist:

  • 100/20 ranking: 87
  • 25/3 ranking: 32
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 9.2
  • Number of providers: 7

Details:

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. I’m looking at progress toward the 2022 (25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up) and 2026 (100 Mbps down and 20 Mbps up) and will code each:

  • Red (yikes)
  • Yellow (warning)
  • Green (good shape)
This entry was posted in County Profile 2019, Red 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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