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.
Lake County ranks 37 out of 87 counties for digital equity. Their ranking in different demographic tracts are wide ranking – from a low of 67 rank for access to broadband at speeds of 100 Mbps down and 20 up and high ranking for educational attainment (high school degree at 14). Lake County has been working on infrastructure and digital training programs for years so they have the local expertise and engagement but it seems with the low ranking in broadband, it would make sense to keep an eye on infrastructure deployment.
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||67|
|No HS degree||14|
|Below 150% poverty (last 12 months)||24|
|Below poverty (last 12 months)||23|
|No broadband access||53|
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:
- Lake Superior School District (ISD #381)
Superintendent Jay Belcastro
(218) 834-8201 x8213
Regional Development Commission
- Arrowhead Regional Development Commission
There’s a lot to take in but sometimes it’s also helpful to see what a community has done in the past, so we’ve gathered specific projects funded through the Blandin Foundation:
|Project Owner||Project Name||Description|
|Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency||Capacity Building — Using Internet Screening to Broaden Family Supports||Donation towards introducing the use of an online screening tool for Two Harbors Area Food Shelf patrons that will help identify public programs for which they might qualify as part of the Broadband Program in rural Minnesota|
|Northshore Area Partners||Internet Training for Seniors||Project support to provide internet training to the senior citizens of Lake County as part of the Broadband Program in rural Minnesota|
|Lake County||Lake County Broadband YouTube Channel||Project support to create a Lake County Broadband YouTube channel that will be used to share educational videos that promote digital literacy and the benefits of using broadband technology in rural Minnesota as part of the Broadband Program|
|Lake Superior School District #381||Mobile Devices for the Lake Superior School District||Project support for mobile devices for the Lake Superior School District as part of the Broadband Program|
|Lake Superior School District #381||Broadband Community Education||Project support for training programs on web and internet tools aimed at multiple demographics in Lake County to increase the technological sophistication of the community as part of the Broadband Program|
|Lake County||Community Web Portal||Project support to provide a central online source of information, events and resources for Lake County residents and visitors alike, providing both a unifying force and an economic development tool as part of the Broadband Program in rural Minnesota|
|Lake Superior School District #381||Lake County Community Wireless Access||Project support to increase public access to the internet, thereby increasing traffic and business for local establishments as part of the Broadband Program in rural Minnesota|
|Community Partners, Two Harbors: Living at Home Block Nurse Program||Using Tablets to Help Senior Citizens Access Healthcare Information||Donation to provide senior citizens of Lake County with access to online health information through the use of mobile devices and staff assistance|
|Lake Superior School District #381||Lake County Telepresence||Project support to implement and promote distance learning opportunities in Lake County for students, teachers, and community members|
|Lake Superior School District #381||PCs for People||Project support to provide refurbished computers to low-income families with school-aged children|
|Two Harbors Community Radio||Leveraging Broadband to Web Stream||Project support to provide live streaming capacity for Two Harbors Community Radio, allowing interested listeners to hear broadcasts beyond the limited reach of the FM signal|
|Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center||Broadband Upgrade for Education||Capital support to provide reliable, high-speed internet access to promote the learning of K-12 students, graduate school students and community members visiting Wolf Ridge|