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.
Watonwan County ranks 79 out of 87 counties for digital equity. A surprising ranking for Watonwan, they rank 17 for access to broadband at speeds of 100 Mbps down and 20 up. That’s clearly out of line with their overall ranking. So they have good access and yet, their broadband subscription rate rank 83. There are three pillars of digital equity: affordable access to broadband, device ownership and the skills to use them. Watonwan needs to work on access to devices 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||17|
|No HS degree||86|
|Below 150% poverty (last 12 months)||70|
|Below poverty (last 12 months)||75|
|No broadband access||15|
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:
Traverse des Sioux Library Cooperative
- Butterfield Public School District (ISD #836)
Superintendent Steve Thomas
(507) 956-2771 x143
- Madelia School District (ISD #837)
Superintendent Shelly Bauer
- Saint James School District (ISD #840)
Superintendent Dr. Steven Heil
Regional Development Commission