Blue Earth County: ranks 39 (out of 87) for access to 100/20: code yellow

Blue Earth County is in danger of not making either the 2022 or 2026 MN speed goals. Anomalies in the data available makes it difficult to assess with confidence. In 2017, Blue Earth was deemed non-competitive for business by the FCC. There has been improvement, but they need more.

They are in a position where most of the broadband they have is good broadband (100/20) but with almost 80 percent coverage, they are in danger of losing public interest before there is ubiquitous coverage.

Percentage of Served Population by Speed and Date
Blue Earth 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 77.91 14.13 55.6
25/3 (2022 goal) 78.33 77.95 88.35

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

In 2015, Blue Earth was among twenty counties in southwestern Minnesota to benefit from a MN state broadband:

  • 2015 – MVTV Wireless Middle Mile
    Grant award: $808,080
    A Middle Mile broadband infrastructure buildout to upgrade backhaul capacity between site locations within 20 southwestern Minnesota counties that will improve services to state speed goal levels and above to 6,000 households and businesses that are current MVTV customers, with leverage possibility of 29,000 more. The counties are: Blue Earth, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac Qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, Meeker, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Pipestone, Rock, Redwood, Renville, Sibley Swift, Watonwan, and Yellow Medicine. conjunction with existing and identified fiber points of presence, MVTV will enhance wireless backhaul aggregation links in select areas. The project deployment consists of 58 11GHz licensed radio links. Radio full duplex capacity will reach a maximum scalable throughput in excess of 1Gbps download and 1Gbps upload .

Blue Earth is also getting almost $2 million in FCC funding, spread out  over the next ten years.

At the end of 2018, Blue Earth County Board resolved to kickstart efforts to bring more broadband options and data fiber connections to the area. In April 2019, they were awarded funding from the Blandin Foundation for a broadband feasibility study, which has been used to help support applications  to the state broadband grant program.

Blue Earth County could benefit from future grants. In 2019, MidCo applied to upgrade service around Mapleton. (That doesn’t mean they will get the grant; they have only applied.)

Checklist:

  • 100/20 ranking: 39 (from 83)
  • 25/3 ranking: 61
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 31.9
  • Number of providers: 13

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, Yellow 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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