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.
Polk County ranks 44 out of 87 counties for digital equity. They ranking by tract are interesting. Their broadband subscription rate ranks higher (30) that computer ownership (56); the bachelor’s attainment rank (29) is higher than population living below poverty (64). Because of those differences, they seem to be 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)
|Access to 100/20||50|
|No HS degree||58|
|Below 150% poverty (last 12 months)||60|
|Below poverty (last 12 months)||64|
|No broadband access||22|
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:
- Climax-Shelly Public School (ISD #592)
Superintendent Dan Dalchow
- Crookston Public School District (ISD #593)
Superintendent Dave Kuehn
(218) 281-5313 x1
- East Grand Forks Public School District (ISD #595)
Superintendent Michael Kolness
- Fertile-Beltrami School District (ISD #599)
Superintendent Brian Clarke
- Fisher Public School District (ISD #600)
Superintendent Evan Hanson
(218) 891-4105 x829
- Fosston Public School District (ISD #601)
Superintendent Todd Selk
- Win-E-Mac School District (ISD #2609)
Superintendent Randy Bruer
Regional Development Commission