Scott County uses CARES funding for fixed wireless broadband

Southwest News Media reports on Scott County using CARES funding to expand broadband to rural areas. Unfortunately, they don’t report actual (or advertised) speeds, although the provider’s site claims “speeds up to 30 times as fast as your current connection.” Here’s where Scott County stood a year ago…

Though there are several internet providers that serve Scott County, as of 2020 up to 40% of parts of the rural areas of the county did not have access to adequate broadband services, according to Minnesota’s Office of Broadband Development.

The county recognized the existence of a gap and began working on a pilot program to help internet reach underserved areas using its existing regional fiber network.

They looked to use CARES funding to help…

When the COVID-19 pandemic began last March, Scott County made the move to accelerate the program by entering into a private-public partnership with Netwave Broadband, a fixed-wireless company that now brings internet service options to the county.

To pay for the project, the county used a portion of its CARES funding along with contributions from the city of Jordan and Sand Creek and St. Lawrence Townships.

Now the county is better served…

Through the public-private partnership, Netwave is offering a 25% discounted rate for monthly fees and installation.

Anyone who signs up during the Governor’s Emergency Peacetime Emergency is guaranteed a rate of $149 installation and a monthly cost of $49 per month or $59 per month if a router is needed.

Netwave has also lifted internet speed caps for customers during the peacetime emergency.

”Whatever your equipment is capable of getting is what you will get,” Herman said. “We don’t throttle anything.”

Through the recent deployment of Netwave Broadband, approximately 95% of the rural parts of Scott County now have access to broadband internet services, Mulcrone said.

“It shocks me how fast our speed is with Netwave,” Koepp said.

Herman said Netwave is working toward being able to cover the final 5%.

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