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.
Le Sueur County ranks 26 out of 87 counties for digital equity. They are ranking in the top third. They have been working on better broadband for a few years, so they have local experts and momentum. Their rankings are pretty even across the board so they are in a position where they need to work on the three pillars of digital equity: affordable access to broadband, device ownership and the skills to use them.
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)
|Le Sueur County||Ranking|
|Access to 100/20||36|
|No HS degree||28|
|Below 150% poverty (last 12 months)||12|
|Below poverty (last 12 months)||25|
|No broadband access||12|
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:
- Cleveland Public School District (ISD #391)
Superintendent Brian Phillips
- Le Sueur-Henderson School District (ISD #397)
Superintendent Jim Wagner
- Tri-City United School District (ISD #2905)
Superintendent Kevin Babcock
- Waterville-Elysian-Morristown School District (ISD #2143)
Superintendent Ryan Jensen
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|
|Le Sueur County Broadband Initiative||Community Technology Assistance||Improve access to technology throughout the community by increasing the number of public access sites and training opportunities with an emphasis on Zoom and other applications for community connectivity.|
|Le Sueur County Broadband Initiative||LCBI Communications||Amplify the work of the LCBI through enhanced communication and marketing, including improving access to county-wide calendars and offering integrated community education classes.|
|Le Sueur County Broadband Initiative||Technology Enhancements||Improve the effectiveness of the Le Sueur County Broadband Initiative (LCBI) through the use of Google Suites for Business, including training for all team members.|
|Le Sueur County Broadband Initiative & Region Nine||Le Sueur County Economic Development Forum||Address the lack of economic development at the county-level by conducting a needs-assessment and holding a summer event for businesses across the county.|
|Tri City School District||Broadband Coalition Fellowship||Enhance and support broadband planning efforts and to support the creation of digital navigation projects that will support residents, businesses, and libraries through the hire of a two-year Lead for Minnesota Fellow.|