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.
Yellow Medicine County ranks 58 out of 87 counties for digital equity. Their ranking for access to broadband at speeds of 100 Mbps down and 20 up is 68, which is not great. 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 but with the lower ranking access to broadband, they will want to keep a focus on getting better broadband. 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)
|Yellow Medicine County||Ranking|
|Access to 100/20||68|
|No HS degree||63|
|Below 150% poverty (last 12 months)||51|
|Below poverty (last 12 months)||63|
|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:
- Canby Public School District (ISD #891)
Superintendent Ryan Nielsen
- Yellow Medicine East School District (ISD #2190)
Superintendent Rich Schneider
Regional Development Commission
- Courtney Dietsche
Cloquet Public Library
320 14th Street
Cloquet, MN 55720
- Michael Cary, Superintendent
Cloquet Public Schools
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|
|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.|