Mille Lacs County Broadband Profile 2020: Red rating: Ranking out 69 of 87

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Rank (from 100/20 megabits per second): 69
Code: Red

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.

Mille Lacs County: stalled but recent grant might help

Mille Lacs County has been working on broadband for a while. They were part of the Blandin Broadband Communities (BBC) initiative from 2012-2014. In 2015, they released a feasibility study. They have benefited from past MN Border to Border grants and stand to improve based on a project awarded funding in the last round as well as CARES funding. But they are not poised to meet the 2026 goals. They will likely need to mobilize to get better broadband; without intervention they are stalled under 60 percent access.

Broadband Access:

2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 58.9 52.77 54.42 47.07
25/3 (2022 goal) 87.15 83.86 62 47.86

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%
Mille Lacs 84.4% 70.4% 68.3% 52.0% 2.8%

What we learned in the past:

Mille Lacs County has been working on broadband for a while. They were part of the Blandin Broadband Communities (BBC) initiative from 2012-2014 when much of the community admittedly went from not knowing what broadband was to needing it. In 2015, they released a feasibility study.

Mille Lacs County benefited from one MN broadband grant:

  • 2016 – BENTON COOPERATIVE TELEPHONE COMPANY BOCK – GRANT: $510,000

Update from 2020:

Mille Lacs County will benefit from a MN Border to Border grant awarded in the last round:

  • 2019: Benton Cooperative Telephone Company – Ramey Phase I – GRANT $936,759
    This last mile project will serve approximately 253 unserved households, nine unserved businesses, two unserved town halls, and 97 unserved farms in the Ramey ILEC exchange in portions of Alberta and Granite Ledge Townships in Benton County, and portions of Hillman, Lakin, and Morrill Townships in Morrison County, and a portion of Page Township in Mille Lacs County. In a funding partnership with the State of Minnesota, Benton Cooperative Telephone Company will improve broadband service levels to at least 25 Mbps download and 25 Mbps upload, and a maximum speed of 100 Mbps download and 100 Mbps upload, meeting or exceeding the 2022 and 2026 state speed goals. These homes and businesses will have faster access to needed crop prices, ordering parts, educational opportunities, and telemedicine services.
  • Total eligible project cost is $2,676,454
  • Local match is $1,739,695

Mille Lacs is looking at using CARES Act funding for broadband.

Checklist:

  • 100/20 Mbps ranking: 69 (down 2)
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 14.9

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 Broadband Fund Awards 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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