Cass County Broadband Profile 2021: Red Rating: Ranking out 79 of 87

Rank: 79
Code:  Red
(See Blandin Foundation interactive map)

Cass County: a long way to go

Cass County ranks 79 for broadband access and 68 for digital equity out of 87 counties. Their coverage to broadband of 100 Mbps down and 20 up decreased this year to 56.37 percent (from 64 percent). They have 10415 households without access to broadband at that speed. Estimates indicate that it will cost $96.8 million to get to ubiquitous broadband in the county.

County Housing Unit Density Number of Housing Units 100/20 Mbps houses unserved Cost to close the gap
Cass 9.9 23,872 56.37 10415 $96,862,788.48

Cass County will benefit from a border to border grant announced in December 2022.

  • Consolidated Telephone Company (CTC) was one of the grant recipients, receiving $4,857,030 in funding (to cover St. Louis, Carlton, and Cass counties)

Cass County was working on a number of broadband projects in 2021:  special COVID-related funding from DEED,  CTC received CARES Act and TDS is also in the area with about 60 miles of fiber between Cass and Crow Wing counties.

Cass County gets a red coding because they have so much work to do and funding to get to deploy ubiquitous broadband throughout the county. Also they saw the one of greatest drops in broadband ranking – down 8 spots.

Broadband Access:

  2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 56.37 64.02 63.21 51.61 35.92 34.07
25/3 (2022 goal) 96.44 94.02 84.53 88.02 77.58 66.92

Digital Equity:

Cass County ranks 68 out of 87 for digital equity. (See full Digital Equity Profile)

Cass County ranks 40 out of 87 for computer ownership. 91.3 percent of homes have a computer of device as compared to statewide ownership of 95.5 percent.

Past grants:

  • 2016 – TDS TELECOM CASS & CROW WING COUNTIES — GRANT: $3,000,000
  • 2014 – Consolidated Telephone Cooperative, Region 5 Virtual Highway Project – Award $2 million
  • 2020: CTC received CARES Act funding from both Crow Wing and Cass County.
  • 2019: Paul Bunyan Communications – North Central Minnesota Fiber Project– GRANT $2,562,916
  • 2019: WCTA (West Central Telephone Association) – Rural Staples Phase I Project – GRANT $555,355
  • West Central Telephone Association – Rural Staples Phase 2 – GRANT $465,050 This last mile project will serve 56 unserved locations in extremely rural areas of Wadena and Cass counties.

Checklist:

  • Find more articles on broadband in Cass County. (http://tinyurl.com/hgtulgm)
  • 100/20 Mbps ranking: 79 (down 8 from last year)
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 9.9

I am doing the annual look at broadband in each county – based on maps from the Office of Broadband Development and news gathered from the last year. I’m looking at progress toward the 2022 (25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up) and 2026 (100 Mbps down and 20 Mbps up) and will code each:

  • Red (yikes)
  • Yellow (warning)
  • Green (good shape)
This entry was posted in County Profiles 2022, 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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