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.
Lincoln County ranks 65 out of 87 counties for digital equity. Their lowest rankings are related to technology: access to broadband at speeds of 100 Mbps down and 10 up (rank 80), computer access (rank 73) and broadband subscription rates (78). Yet the poverty rate is ranked much higher, which might indicate that affordability isn’t a big issue, but residents do need to see the value. Getting better broadband is one solution but so it building an interest with local residents through digital training. They have a history of digital equity programming, which will help tap into local expertise and engagement.
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||80|
|No HS degree||57|
|Below 150% poverty (last 12 months)||42|
|Below poverty (last 12 months)||52|
|No broadband access||1|
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:
- Plum Creek Library System
- Hendricks Public School District (ISD #402)
Superintendent Paul Chick
- Ivanhoe Public School District (ISD #403)
Superintendent Loy Woelber
- Lake Benton School District (ISD #404)
Superintendent Loy Woelber
- Russell Tyler Ruthton School District (ISD #2902)
Superintendent Mr. David Marlette
Regional Development Commission
- Southwest 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|
|Development Services, Inc.||“At Home in Lincoln County” Website||Promote and market Lincoln County to residents and visitors by expanding the current countywide website to include a comprehensive overview of the county’s communities, resources for residents and visitors, business information, and events and activities.|
|Development Services, Inc.||Ivanhoe Broadband Community Survey||Determine Ivanhoe residents’ satisfaction with current broadband offerings and gauge interest in a potential fiber optic network by conducting a community broadband survey.|
|Lincoln County||Public Wi-Fi Access||Increase access to the internet by providing public Wi-Fi access at parks and other spots where people gather around the county.|
|Tyler Public Library||Internet Safety Programs||Educate parents, students, and community members on internet safety by conducting training programs on Social Media Safety and Internet Fraud and Scams.|