Swift County Digital Equity Profile – ranked 64

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.


Swift County ranks 64 out of 87 counties for digital equity. Swift is in the lower half of county rankings. Their rankings are pretty consistent, which means 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, so they have the local expertise 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)

Swift County Ranking
Access to 100/20 52
No bachelors 53
No HS degree 65
Below 150% poverty (last 12 months) 72
Below poverty (last 12 months) 67
Disability 49
No computer 74
No broadband access 10
No subscription 72
Overall average 64

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:



Regional Development Commission

More Resources:

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
Upper Minnesota Valley RDC Public Sector Broadband Feasibility Study Project support for a study to determine the feasibility of constructing a fiber network connecting all public buildings in the Upper Minnesota Valley Region
Upper Minnesota Valley RDC Regional Technology Team Project support to create a regional IT professional network to ignite cross-industry collaborations so the region can fully integrate technology in day-to-day efforts and large scale planning efforts
Upper Minnesota Valley RDC IT Connect II Project support to maintain a regional IT professional network in the Upper Minnesota Valley region
Upper Minnesota Valley RDC Rural Connect Project support to create a shared marketing message and implementation strategy for the region in an effort to attract people and investment
Upper Minnesota Valley RDC Rural Connect Phase II Project support for the Rural Connect Phase II
Swift County RDA Training for CNC and Welding Project support to offer a five-week Weld and Computer Numerical Control (CNC) certificate program to Swift County residents through a combination of online, classroom and shop experience.
Swift County RDA Digital Marketing Consulting Project support to improve local business profitability by engaging seven small business owners (selected through an application process) in hands-on consulting to develop and implement affordable website and social media strategies, resulting in increased brand awareness and customer base.
Swift County RDA Community Websites Project support to develop customized community profiles and websites for Swift County cities without current websites, including Clontarf, Danvers, DeGraff, and Holloway.
KMS (Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg) Community Ed STEM Camp for Kids Project support for a low-cost summer STEM Camp for children entering 2nd through 7th grade utilizing proven curriculum provided by the National Inventors Hall of Fame to enhance kids’ skills in the areas of robotics, coding, and other STEM areas.
U of MN Extension 4-H Extension Mobile App Project support to create a mobile app allowing 4-H families across Swift County to easily access 4-H information and resources; including schedules, show programs, results, event sign-up, and training.
Swift County RDA Digital Marketing for Community & Economic Dev. Orgs Project support to convene an ongoing peer communication/marketing roundtable where tools and best practices can be shared, and communication strategies aligned to strengthen community and economic development.
Swift County Online Camping Reservations Project support to improve the visibility and accessibility of camping across the county through the creation of an app that displays availability of sites at multiple campgrounds and allows campers to make reservations and pay online.
Project Owner Project Name Description
Big Stone County Public Internet Access Project The Public Internet Access Project will provide online access to government information and resources including forms, county highway project status, and GIS information. Online access will increase awareness, options and citizen control in how they interact with county government.
Dawson / Boyd Schools Community Digital Literacy Community Digital Literacy will connect businesses, community members and students to support the creation of a digitally literate community through a Multimedia Collaboration Center, a Student Tech Team, and a hybrid (online and classroom) Teacher/Community Training Academy.
Johnson Memorial Health Services HomeStream HomeStream will demonstrate the potential for using broadband‐based remote support tools and enhanced family engagement with aging populations to define appropriate visits/hospitalizations and to achieve increased medication adherence for better health outcomes.
Lac qui Parle County Economic Development Authority (EDA) Computer Commuter Computer Commuter is an innovative mobile computer lab that increases the digital literacy of area residents and businesses, advances knowledge workers, and promotes broadband availability and digital inclusion.
Ortonville School / Ortonville EDA Community Broadband Strategies Community Broadband Strategies will increase Internet usage by 1) giving businesses an understanding of the uses and benefits access provides, 2) exposing community members to the information that they can obtain, 3) encouraging a viable economic community and a school system that uses technology, and 4) involving youth in the community’s development, thereby encouraging them to return as adults.
Pioneer Public Television Video on Rural Broadband Use During the first phase of production, Pioneer will be developing a segment of approximately 14 minutes focusing on western Minnesota individuals and organizations affected by a lack of broadband availability.  This segment will be produced in the third and fourth quarter of 2011 for submission to the national public television program, Need to Know, and will form the basis for a longer program of up to 28 minutes.
Upper Minnesota Valley RDC Community Websites This project will assist two cities (Bellingham and Echo) in the creation of community websites.
This entry was posted in MN by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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