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.
Red Lake County ranks 70 out of 87 counties for digital equity. Some of their lowest ranking tracts are the ones that related directly to technology: access to broadband at speeds of 100 Mbps down and 20 up ranks 75, computer access ranks 62 and broadband subscription rates rank 80. It speaks to the need to focus on all aspects of digital equity. 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. The good news is that they have been working on digital equity and therefore have local experts and community 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||75|
|No HS degree||72|
|Below 150% poverty (last 12 months)||53|
|Below poverty (last 12 months)||48|
|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:
- Cedar Mountain School District (ISD #2754)
Superintendent Rob Brandl
- Milroy School District (ISD #635)
Superintendent John Willey
- Red Rock Central School District (ISD #2884)
Superintendent Todd Lee
- Redwood Valley Area School District (ISD #2897)
Superintendent Becky Cselovszki
- Wabasso School District (ISD #640)
Superintendent Jon Fulton
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|
|Lower Sioux Indian Community||Bringing Wi-Fi to the Lower Sioux Community||Project support to provide reliable, high-speed internet access to key tribal buildings for residents, service providers, officials and visitors|
|Red Rock Central School||3D Printing, Windows 10 & Office 2013 Training||Project support to provide technology training to students, residents, and businesses of the Lamberton area of Redwood County|
|Redwood Area Development Corporation||Marketing Broadband and Training Opportunities||Project support to market and promote the new Technology Training Center and Lunch-N-Learn technology classes for area residents and businesses while promoting the need for better broadband|
|Redwood Area Development Corp.||Redwood Connect – Marketing||Project support to promote the new Technology Training Center classes|
|Redwood Area Hospital||Telemedicine / Health Pilot||Project support to utilize telemedicine and other services that leverage broadband networks to provide advanced and specialized medical care for the convenience of southwest Minnesota residents|
|Redwood Area School District||Adult Education – Lunch & Learn Technology Series||Project support to provide a series of computer/internet classes for residents and businesses of Redwood County|
|Redwood Area School District||Early Childhood Family Education SMART Boards||Capital support to provide up-to-date educational technology to preschoolers and their parents to enhance learning and readiness for kindergarten|
|Redwood County||GIS to the Public||Project support to provide Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to the public via the internet, creating efficiencies for both county staff and the public|
|Redwood County||Training Facility for Redwood County Citizens and Employees||Project support to equip a training lab in the courthouse to provide a venue for technology training for the general public, employers and Redwood County employees|
|Redwood Falls Public Library||Computer Upgrades||Capital support to update technology for library patron usage so all community members have access to the latest technology|