Lac qui Parle County Broadband Profile 2020: Green rating: Ranking out 3 of 87

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Rank (from 100/20 megabits per second): 3
Code: Green

Annually, Blandin Foundation pulls together data from the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development and broadband news to gauge progress toward the state broadband goals (25 megabits per second download/3 Mbps upload by 2022 and 100 Mbps/20 Mbps by 2026). Leaders can use this information to improve broadband access and use in their communities. To see how the state is doing overall, or to compare counties, visit the Blandin Foundation interactive map. Or check out past years’ reports: 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

La Qui Parle County: they are there

Lac qui Parle (LqP) County received an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) award in 2010 that brought Fiber to the Home (FTTH) to most of the county. It has provided opportunities and prepared them for the work. We spoke to them specifically about how broadband was a help or hindrance in dealing with COVID.

Residents of LqP are able to get most of their work and learning done online. They will have a financial and academic advantage over counties that aren’t as well served.

Broadband Access:

2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 99.57 97.35 97.35 99.36
25/3 (2022 goal) 99.57 97.35 97.35 99.36

Computer Access:

County Households with computer …with desktop or laptop …with a smartphone …with a tablet et al …with other
State of MN 90.3% 81.1% 76.5% 59.3% 3.5%
LqP 83.8% 74.5% 65.9% 50.5% 2.4%

What we learned in the past:

In 2009, Blandin Foundation funded a feasibility study for LqP County and Farmers Telephone Cooperative. The feasibility study’s engineering, operational, and market development plans were later used to support the partners’ successful ARRA funding application. Resulting in a $9.6 million ARRA award in August 2010.

LqP has benefited from two MN state grants:

  • 2017 – Farmers Mutual Telephone – City of Watson and SW Lac qui Parle County FTTP – GRANT $760,501
  • 2015 – MVTV Wireless Middle Mile – Grant award: $808,080

Update from 2020:

Lac qui Parle County and Farmers Mutual Telephone were awarded Blandin Foundation Courageous Leadership awards last year for their early work bringing FTTH in a rural county.

Is broadband a help or hindrance in dealing with COVID?
LqP County met with Blandin on Broadband to talk about how their broadband situation helped or hindered the ability to deal with COVID restrictions.

On the call was Pam Lehmann, the EDA Director at the time that LqP got the ARRA award. As she said, it has been a universal help to the county in dealing with COVID. Kids are able to attend school online, when they need to. Because of the fast connection, Pam was able to access, interact and apply for federal funding for local area small businesses. Healthcare has moved online; insurance waivers and changes in regulation have been helpful in making that possible.

Healthcare recruitment has also moved online. The healthcare facilities have been hiring and are holding all interviews online. It’s not the same as having someone come to town but, especially in the healthcare industry, you don’t want people coming from their hospital to fly to LqP hospitals; so adequate broadband for video interactions have been a potential life saver.

Checklist:

  • Find more articles on broadband in Lac qui Parle. (http://tinyurl.com/zc2tfay)
  • 100/20 ranking: 3 (up 6)
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 4.1

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 MN County Profiles 2020 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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