Every year, the Blandin on Broadband blog does County Broadband Profiles (and will do again when the new maps come out) but given federal opportunities are making it possible to get funding for access and adoption, I thought I’d try to present information for counties to assess their digital equity standing (see table below) and give options for who to contact locally for more information.
Faribault County ranks 57 out of 87 counties for digital equity. Looking at the individual tracks below, Faribault is middle or the pack or slightly below average ranking for most things. But the lowest ranking is for access to broadband at speeds of 100 Mbps down and 20 up. Broadband subscription rates are also ranked low but that makes sense if the connectivity is not optimal. Because federal funding is focused on access and adoption, this is an opportunity for the county to look at both but broadband deployment is still going to be a priority. Encouraging subscriptions will help a provider recoup costs and increase communitywide use.
Scroll down for details and suggested resources for more information.
Blandin Foundation is using the Microsoft Digital Equity Tool to determine needs by county and make high level recommendations for next steps to consider based on the data. (With special thanks to Carter Grupp, Broadband Coordinator Broadband Coordinator at American Connection Project for Otter Tail County.) Visit the tool if you want to look up more statistics on your community.
Demographic Data and Ranking (out of 87)
|Access to 100/20||68|
|No HS degree||45|
|Below 150% poverty (last 12 months)||61|
|Below poverty (last 12 months)||58|
|No broadband access||32|
The map below shows digital inequity by census tract. The bluer the better; yellow and orange colors indicate more inequity. This map can be helpful in figuring out which parts of your county need the most help.
So where do you go to talk to people in the county about digit equity plans? Good places to start include:
Traverse des Sioux Library Cooperative
- Blue Earth Area Public School District (ISD #2860)
Superintendent Mandy Fletcher
- United South Central School District (ISD #2134)
Superintendent Keith Fleming
Regional Development Commission