Otter Tail County Broadband Profile 2022: Red rating: Ranking out 68 of 87

https://blandinonbroadband.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/infrastructure-grant-otter-tail_tcm1045-134161.pdfRank: 68
Code: Red
(See Blandin Foundation interactive map)

Otter Tail County: recent progress but needs more

Otter Tail County ranks 68 for broadband access and 50 for digital equity out of 87 counties. They have seen incremental improvement since 2020, currently having 70.54 percent coverage to broadband of 100 Mbps down and 20 up in 2022. They have 10755 households without access to broadband at that speed. Estimates indicate that it will cost $100 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
Otter Tail 16.4 36,506 70.54 10755  $    100,018,408.68

Otter Tail County will benefit from two border to border grants announced December 2022:

  • East Otter Tail Telephone Co. dba Arvig, $1,140,704.90
  • Otter Tail Telcom, LLC, $3,381,661.00 (Learn more)

In July (2022), Otter Tail County committed to investing $2.8 million of their ARPA funding on broadband and it sounds like that comes with plans to pursue more federal or state funding. That is a great sign but with their investment is a small percentage of the estimated cost to get to ubiquitous coverage by 2026 so they retain their code red.

Broadband Access:

  2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 70.54 67.02 65.55 35.34 2.36 1.75
25/3 (2022 goal) 92.69 90.97 75.02 92.93 89.56 59.34

Digital Equity:

Otter Tail County ranks 43 out of 87 for digital equity. (See full Digital Equity Profile)

Otter Tail County ranks 50 out of 87 for computer ownership. 90.5 percent of homes have a computer of device as compared to statewide ownership of 95.5 percent.

Past grants:

  • 2017 – Arvig – Pelican Rapids rural non-ACAM – GRANT $633,642
  • 2017 – Otter Tail Telcom LLC – Red Oak Drive – GRANT $173,683
  • 2017 – WCTA (West Central Telephone Association) – Wadena Rural Phase III – GRANT $874,581
  • 2016 – OTTER TAIL TELCOM BATTLE LAKE – GRANT: $ 238,170
  • 2016 – OTTER TAIL TELCOM FERGUS FALLS AREA – GRANT: $ 279,271
  • 2016 – WCTA WADENA RURAL NORTH — GRANT: $718,850
  • 2015 – Otter Tail Telcom Fergus Falls 864 – Hwy 59 – Grant award: $295,432
  • 2015 – Otter Tail Telcom Hwy 59/94 PRT to POM – Grant award: $164,207
  • 2014 – Otter Tail Telcom, Stuart Lake – Award: $105,364.
  • 2014 – Otter Tail Telcom, 245th – Award: $108,553.
  • 2019: Otter Tail Telcom LLC – Long and Fish Lakes Project – GRANT $156,954
  • 2019: Arvig (Loretel Systems, Inc.) – Cormorant Lakes Area Project – GRANT $430,780

Checklist:

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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