Mille Lacs County Broadband Profile 2021: Red rating: Ranking out 69 of 87

Rank: 69
Code: Red
(See Blandin Foundation interactive map)

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. They are part of the Blandin Accelerate program in 2021 as being part of the Mille Lacs Tribal Economy (there is some overlap with county and tribal community); a process to spur community acquisition and deployment of federal and state broadband funds. Initiative Foundation will fund a Mille Lacs Tribal Economy Satellite Broadband Study.

County will benefit from a few MN State Grants awarded in 2021:

  • Savage Communications Inc. (SCI) – Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe (Onamia) Broadband Expansion – GRANT $70,261 This last mile fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) project will serve 102 unserved households within the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Reservation in Mille Lacs County.
  • Benton Cooperative Telephone Company – Ramey Phase 2 Project – GRANT $338,011 This last mile project will serve 119 unserved locations in the Ramey telephone exchange located in portions of Lakin and Mount Morris townships in Morrison County and a small portion of Dailey and Page townships located in Mille Lacs County.

Projected allocation of American Recovery Project ARP funds in Mille Lacs is $5,096,262; broadband is one possible use. Mille Lacs’ history with the Blandin Foundation should help the community recognize the value of investing ARP in broadband. Because if their slow progress, they are code red.

Broadband Access:

2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 60.1 58.9 52.77 54.42 47.07
25/3 (2022 goal) 74.46 87.15 83.86 62 47.86

Computer Access:

County Households with computer …with desktop or laptop …with ONLY  smartphone …with a tablet et al
State of MN 93.6% 80.6% 7.7% 63.8%
Mille Lacs 87.1 69.2 10.1 53.4

Past grants:

  • 2016 – BENTON COOPERATIVE TELEPHONE COMPANY BOCK – GRANT: $510,000
  • 2019: Benton Cooperative Telephone Company – Ramey Phase I – GRANT $936,759

Checklist:

  • Find more articles on broadband in Mille Lacs County (http://tinyurl.com/h7wcdjj)
  • 100/20 Mbps ranking: 73 (down 4)
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 17.36

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, MN County Profiles 2021 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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