Stearns County ranks 32 (out of 87) for broadband speeds of 100/20: code red

Stearns County could reach the MN speed goals for both 2022 and 2026 with a concerted effort. They have  recent momentum happening in the area; that will help.

Percentage of Served Population by Speed and Date
2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 81.07 40.17 38.01
25/3 (2022 goal) 91.72 88.96 87.58

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Stearns County has benefited from two MN broadband grants:

  • 2017 – Albany Mutual Telephone Association – Two Rivers Area – GRANT $616,743
    Serving serve 121 unserved households and home-based businesses in an area northeast of Albany in Stearns County with service levels to exceed the 2022 state goal of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload.
  • 2016 – ALBANY MUTUAL TELEPHONE ASSOCIATION BIG WATAB LAKE – GRANT: $726,185
    Serving 242 unserved households near and around Big Watab Lake in Stearns County with service levels to 1 Gbps.

Stearns County also is in line to  benefit from FCC funding because Midcontinent Communications will receive $719,916 over  ten years to expand services in Stearns County. Also, in June 2019, Stearns County Board met to hear the conclusions of  a Blandin Foundation-supported feasibility study.

The future of the county’s progress toward the MN broadband speeds goals relies, to a great degree, on how that study is received.

Stearns County could benefit from future grants. In 2019, Albany Telephone, Meeker Coop and Arvig  applied to upgrade service in Stearns (That doesn’t mean they will get the grant; they have only applied.)

Checklist:

  • 100/20 ranking: 32 (up from 64)
  • 25/3 ranking: 29
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: no
  • Household density: 40.5
  • Number of providers: 13

Details:

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)

Sibley County ranks 61 (out of 87) for broadband speeds 100/20: code red

Despite a region-wide focus on broadband, Sibley is unlikely to meet the 2022 or 2026 MN speed goals. But the region-wide focus will keep the vision alive.

Percentage of Served Population by Speed and Date
2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 62.87 62.84 51.01
25/3 (2022 goal) 73.59 63.47 53.60

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Sibley County has benefited from three state grants:

  • 2017 – Winthrop Telephone Company, Inc. – Cornish Township FTTP Project – GRANT $365,895This last mile project will serve 58 unserved households and 2 unserved businesses in Cornish Township located in Sibley County in south central Minnesota. In a funding partnership with the State of Minnesota, Winthrop Telephone Company, Inc. will improve broadband service levels to 1 Gbps down and 1 Gbps up, exceeding the 2026 state speed goal. The 60 locations are primarily agricultural-related sites, which given the size and technical sophistication of these operations, need advanced broadband to remain vital and competitive.
  • 2015 – MVTV Wireless Middle Mile
    Grant award: $808,080
    This project is a Middle Mile broadband infrastructure buildout to upgrade backhaul capacity between site locations within 20 southwestern Minnesota counties: Blue Earth, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac Qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, Meeker, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Pipestone, Rock, Redwood, Renville, Sibley Swift, Watonwan, and Yellow Medicine.
  • 2014 – R-S Fiber Cooperative, FTTH Project
    Award: $1 million. Total project cost: $3.32 million. Impact: Service to 62 unserved and 536 underserved locations in Sibley and Renville counties. The project is part of a larger cooperative project estimated at $38.46 million that will upgrade broadband services to several thousand locations in the region.

Sibley County (along with Renville) is another one of the few communities in Minnesota where their broadband story might make a good opera. Ten years ago, residents were getting fed up with poor connectivity.  To address the issue a joint Powers Board was formed that ultimately included all seven cities in Sibley county as well as the city of Fairfax in Renville County.

In 2010, Blandin Foundation awarded the group a feasibility study grant, and the JPB used the study results to educate the public about the need and opportunity for building a world-class network, and to seek financing.

In the fall of 2012, concerned about the project’s plan for how to structure the project’s debt service reserve fund, the Sibley Board of Commissioners, in a 3-2 vote, passed a resolution to withdraw from the JPB.

Undaunted, immediately following this vote, a group of farmers walked across the street and in an impromptu meeting, vowed to continue the effort by “going back to their roots” as one of them said, and form a coop.

RS Fiber Coop hired Hiawatha Broadband Corporation (HBC) to build and operate the gigabit fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP) network when the project was launched, and in June of this year, RS Fiber announced the formation of a long-term operating relationship with HBC.

Sibley County was featured in a case study Blandin published on the community return on public investment in broadband…

The following investments have been made in the community:

  • $8.7 million Generally Obligated Tax Abatement Bond (between Sibley and Renville Counties)
  • $1 million Minnesota Border-to-Border Broadband Grant (2015) to RS Fiber
  • $150,011 from Blandin Foundation for broadband adoption
  • Total: $9,850,011

Using formulas devised to measure impact of broadband access, Sibley County has the potential to realize as a return on that investment:

  • A combined household economic benefit of broadband of $32,774,600 annually
  • A combined increase in residential real estate value of $104,825,572

Sibley County could benefit from future grants. In 2019, Winthrop Telephone applied to upgrade service in Sibley. (That doesn’t mean they will get the grant; they have only applied.)

Checklist:

  • 100/20 ranking: 61
  • 25/3 ranking: 68
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 10
  • Number of providers: 10

Details:

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)

Sherburne County ranks 49 (out of 87) for broadband at 100/20: code red

Sherburne County is not poised to meet the MN broadband goals for either 2022 or 2026. Their numbers are actually pretty good, but they have seen only incremental improvements in the last few years. They need a renewed concerted effort to improve if they want to meet the state broadband goals.

Percentage of Served Population by Speed and Date
2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 72.36 67.11 28.02
25/3 (2022 goal) 91.63 89.23 84.55

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Sherburne County has benefited a few MN state grants:

  • 2017 – Palmer Wireless – Sherburne County Road 3 – GRANT $110,661
    SErving serve 20 unserved households and 10 unserved businesses, and one underserved community institution in Sherburne County with speeds of 1 Gbps download and 500 Mbps upload.
  • 2016 – PALMER WIRELESS BIG LAKE INDUSTRIAL PARK – GRANT: $ 90,988
    Serving 17 underserved businesses and 1 underserved community anchor institution in the Big Lake, MN, industrial park on the east edge of town, adjacent to US Hwy 10with service of  100 Mbps by 20 Mbps. The project will bring fiber-to-the-premise technology to the businesses, seeking to replicate the success of the 2014 Border-to-Border broadband grant project with the Becker Industrial Park, to make a positive impact on the economic health of Big Lake and the businesses in the park. Total eligible project cost is $211,600. Local match is $120,612.
  • 2016 – PALMER WIRELESS DEL TONE ROAD AND ST. CLOUD AIRPORT – GRANT: $ 179,400
    Serving 14 unserved businesses and 1 unserved community anchor institution on the east side of St. Cloud, MN with services to 1 Gigabit.
  • 2014 – Palmer Wireless, Becker Industrial Park
    Award: $151,934. Total project cost: $303,870. Impact: service to 21 underserved businesses in the Becker Industrial Park and 12 vacant city-owned lots covering 70 acres.

Sherburne County  was a 2015-2016 Blandin Broadband Community.  They also worked with  Blandin  on trying to improve their connectivity. Their connectivity is not bad, but it hasn’t improved much in the last few years.

Sherburne County could benefit from future grants. In 2019, Arvig applied to upgrade service in Sherburne. (That doesn’t mean they will get the grant; they have only applied.)

Checklist:

  • 100/20 ranking: 49 (down from 36)
  • 25/3 ranking: 30
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 67
  • Number of providers: 12

Details:

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)

Scott County ranks 18 (out of 87) for broadband speeds of 100/20: code yellow

Scott County is in a position where they could make the MN broadband goals for 2022 and 2026 with concerted effort.

Percentage of Served Population by Speed and Date
2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 89.15 88.61 88.38
25/3 (2022 goal) 96.43 94.50 93.77

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Scott County started in 2007 with a 94-mile fiber-optic ring, At the time it was the largest government-owned high-speed network in the state, and one of the largest in the nation. In 2014, county officials  detailed the advantages of the network…

We (Scott County) saw disparity between cost and access. A T1 in SE Scott was about $5500/years; in NE Scott it was $900/year. This project means we now buy it for about $30/year. Scott County Government now pays $35,000/year less for better broadband now.

Scott County has benefited from one MN broadband grant:

  • 2017 – Jaguar Communications – Sand Creek Township Area Broadband Project – GRANT $192,405
    Serving 118 unserved households, 18 unserved businesses, and 3 community anchor institutions in the Sand Creek Township area of Scott County by constructing fiber to the premises.

Scott is a fairly metro county; the market will probably take care of much of the county, but parts of it will take an effort.

Scott County could benefit from future grants. In 2019, Jaguar Communications and Mediacom applied to upgrade service in Scott. (That doesn’t mean they will get the grant; they have only applied.)

Checklist:

  • 100/20 ranking: 18 (down from 14)
  • 25/3 ranking: 17
  • Has worked with Blandin
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant
  • Household density: 122.4
  • Number of providers: 10

Details:

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)

St. Louis County ranks 43 (out of 87) for broadband speeds of 100/20: code red

St Louis County has seen great progress toward reaching the MN broadband goals for 2022 and 2026 but they will need to make a concerted effort to reach them.

Percentage of Served Population by Speed and Date
2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 78.20 41.20 38.78
25/3 (2022 goal) 86.23 83.47 82.33

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

In 2010, ARRA funding brought fiber to St Louis County’s neighbor Cook County. And ARRA brought middle mile coverage to the Northeast Service Cooperative (NESC) which brings middle mile service to parts of St. Louis County. But large swaths of the county remain unserved and underserved.

St Louis County has benefited from several grants that have helped bring last mile to the NESC middle mile:

  • 2017 – CenturyLink – Fredenberg Township FTTH Project – GRANT $1,809,312
    Serving 835 unserved households and 17 unserved businesses with fiber-to-the-home in Fredenberg Township near Duluth in St. Louis County with service levels to 1 Gbps.
  • 2017 – Paul Bunyan Communications – North Central Fiber – GRANT $802,620
    Serving 657 unserved households, 29 unserved businesses, and 5 unserved community institutions, and 130 underserved households, 13 underserved businesses, and 1 underserved community institution near the communities of Park Rapids, Bigfork, and Side Lake, MN, to locations in St. Louis, Itasca, and Hubbard Counties with Gigabit service.
  • 2017 – MEDIACOM FAYAL TOWNSHIP – GRANT: $263,345
    Serving 167 unserved households, 3 unserved businesses, and 92 underserved households in Fayal Township, south of Eveleth in St. Louis with service levels to 100 Mbps download by 20 Mbps up.
  • 2014 – Mediacom, Pintar Road
    Award: $137,848. Total project cost: $275,697. Impact: Service to 122 unserved homes and businesses on the southwest edge of the city limits of Hibbing.
  • 2014 – Northeast Service Cooperative – Frontier Communications Corp., Border to Border Phase I
    Award: $1.96 million. Total project cost: $4.35 million. Impact: Service to 877 homes and businesses in St. Louis County, including areas in and around Crane Lake, Alborn, Meadowlands, Brookston, Forbes, Kelsey, Soudan, Kabetogama, Ely and Tower.

St Louis continues to work on broadband. They’ve had some issues with Frontier Communications.  They’ve had updates on various projects from CenturyLink and Paul Bunyan Telephone Company. In June they hosted a county-wide broadband summit. . They heard from farmers who benefit from fiber and local business who needs it and armed with stories of Blandin Foundation supported projects the area, they spoke about the need for county intervention to make broadband happen.

St Louis County could benefit from future grants. In 2019, CenturyLink and Cooperative Light and Power (CLP)  applied to upgrade service in St Louis. (That doesn’t mean they will get the grant; they have only applied.)

Checklist:

  • 100/20 ranking: 38 (up from 82)
  • 25/3 ranking: 43
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 12.4
  • Number of providers: 19

Details:

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)

Roseau County ranks 48 (out of 87) for broadband speeds of 100/20: code red

Roseau County is not poised to meet the MN broadband goals for either 2022 or 2026. They have been fortunate with state grants; getting more would increase their chances for meeting the goals.

Percentage of Served Population by Speed and Date
Roseau 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 72.59 67.30 0
25/3 (2022 goal) 75.88 67.30 61.85

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Roseau has benefited from several MN broadband grants:

  • 2017 – Wikstrom Telephone – Wiktel NW MN Broadband – GRANT $1,307,785
    This project will serve rural sparsely populated areas in Kittson, Marshall, and Roseau counties in far northwestern Minnesota, passing 300 unserved homes and 31 unserved business locations.  In a funding partnership with the State of Minnesota, Wikstrom will improve broadband services levels to 1 Gbps down and up, exceeding the 2026 state speed goal, on a fiber optic network, and in some locations will extend the service from routes built via the 2016 Border to Border State Grant program. The broadband improvements will foster opportunities in economic development, successful education services for children and adults alike, and allow for critical home health care monitoring in this remote area.
  • 2016 – SJOBERG’S INC. ROSEAU AND LAKE OF THE WOODS COUNTIES — GRANT: $354,740
    Serving 126 unserved households, 30 unserved businesses and 1 community anchor institution in several areas in Roseau and Lake of the Woods Counties with service exceeding 100 Mbps by 20 Mbps.
  • 2016 – CENTURYLINK THIEF RIVER MIDDLE MILE – GRANT: $1,324,400
    Serving 491 unserved households and 118 unserved businesses in a 71.4 mile fiber build from Thief River to Roseau With services at 25 Mbps download by 3 Mbps.
  • 2016 – WIKSTROM TELEPHONE COMPANY WIKTEL NW MN – GRANT: $950,823
    Serving 236 unserved households and 26 unserved business in rural sparsely populated areas in Kittson, Marshall, Roseau, and Lake of the Woods counties with service levels to 1 Gigabit.
  • 2014 – Sjoberg Cable, Broadband Grant Proposal
    Award: $261,575. Total project cost: $523,150. Impact: Services to 107 unserved and 49 underserved homes, farms and businesses in five areas in Roseau County near Roseau, Warroad and Salol.
  • 2014 – Wikstrom Telephone, Kittson, Marshall, Roseau Broadband Extension
    Award: $425,000. Total project cost: $943,827. Impact: Service to 73 unserved and 43 underserved homes in Kittson, Marshall and Roseau counties

In 2018, at a regional discussion on broadband hosted by the Blandin Foundation, Mark Klinkhammer of Garden Valley Telephone mentioned that he had been talking with Roseau Electric to expand to some areas. As a cooperative, they are motivated to get services to their people.

Roseau County could benefit from future grants. In 2019, Roseau Electric Coop and Wikstrom applied to upgrade service in Roseau. (That doesn’t mean they will get the grant; they have only applied.)

Checklist:

  • 100/20 ranking:48 (down from 35)
  • 25/3 ranking: 66
  • Has worked with Blandin: no
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 3.7
  • Number of providers: 5

Details:

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)

Rock County ranks 1 (out of 87) for broadband speeds of 100/20: code green

The top rated county in Minnesota for access to broadband speeds of 100/20, for all practical purposes, Rock County has reached the MN broadband goals for both 2022 and 2026.

Percentage of Served Population by Speed and Date
Rock 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 99.93 99.93 66.32
25/3 (2022 goal) 99.93 99.93 99.93

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Rock County benefited from two MN broadband grants:

  • 2015 – MVTV Wireless Middle Mile
    Grant award: $808,080
    This project is a Middle Mile broadband infrastructure buildout to upgrade backhaul capacity between site locations within 20 southwestern Minnesota counties: Blue Earth, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac Qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, Meeker, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Pipestone, Rock, Redwood, Renville, Sibley Swift, Watonwan, and Yellow Medicine.
  • 2014 – Rock County Broadband Alliance (RCBA), FTTP Project
    Award: $5 million. Total project cost: $12.85 million. Impact: service to 1,261 homes and farms, 68 businesses, and 21 community institutions in Rock County.

The 2014 project set Rock County in a good direction.  In the summer of 2017, Rock County  shared their community broadband expertise by inviting the Minnesota Broadband Task Force to visit the area and learn more about the program. Rock County is a member of the 2018-2020 Blandin Broadband Community  cohort.  Residents are implementing projects to boost broadband adoption and sophistication of use as an economic development strategy.

Checklist:

  • 100/20 ranking: 1 (no change)
  • 25/3 ranking: 2
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 8.1
  • Number of providers: 10

Details:

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)

Rice County ranks 28 (out of 87) for broadband speeds of 100/20: code yellow

Rice County could reach the state broadband goals for 2022 and 2026 with a concerted effort. The momentum and growth in the last year is part of optimism of reaching the goals.

Percentage of Served Population by Speed and Date
2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 82.47 32.63 48.85
25/3 (2022 goal) 92.36 93.20 87.37

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

The anomaly in mapping is due to broadband provider Nuvera delving deeper into the DLS stats. So they really did experience an overwhelming upgrade throughout most of the county with broadband.

Rice County could benefit from future grants. In 2019, Nuvera applied to upgrade service in Rice. (That doesn’t mean they will get the grant; they have only applied.)

Checklist:

  • 100/20 ranking: 28 (up from 74)
  • 25/3 ranking: 27
  • Has worked with Blandin: no
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: no
  • Household density: 43.2
  • Number of providers: 12

Details:

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)

Renville County ranks 62 (out of 87) for broadband speeds of 100/20: code red

Despite a region-wide focus on broadband, Renville is unlikely to meet either the 2022 or 2026 MN speed goals. But the region-wide focus on broadband access and adoption will keep the vision alive.

Percentage of Served Population by Speed and Date
2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 59.06 51.78 50.43
25/3 (2022 goal) 61.90 55.06 53.10

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Renville County has benefited from three state grants:

  • 2016 – RENVILLE COUNTY HBC & RS FIBER – GRANT: $807,966
    Serving 193 unserved households, 99 unserved businesses, and 3 community anchor institutions in portions of Preston Lake, Boon Lake, Brookfield, Osecola, Kingman, Winfield, Crooks, Erickson, Sacred Heart (North), Emmet, Flora, Henryville, Norfolk, Birch Cooley, Camp, and Cairo Townships in Renville County with service to 1 Gigabit.
  • 2015 – MVTV Wireless Middle Mile
    Grant award: $808,080
    This project is a Middle Mile broadband infrastructure buildout to upgrade backhaul capacity between site locations within 20 southwestern Minnesota counties: Blue Earth, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac Qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, Meeker, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Pipestone, Rock, Redwood, Renville, Sibley Swift, Watonwan, and Yellow Medicine.
  • 2014 – R-S Fiber Cooperative, FTTH Project
    Award: $1 million. Total project cost: $3.32 million. Impact: Service to 62 unserved and 536 underserved locations in Sibley and Renville counties. The project is part of a larger cooperative project estimated at $38.46 million that will upgrade broadband services to several thousand locations in the region.

Renville County (along with Sibley) is another one of the few communities in Minnesota where their broadband story might make a good opera. Ten years ago, residents were getting fed up with poor connectivity.  To address the issue a joint Powers Board was formed that ultimately included all seven cities in Sibley county as well as the city of Fairfax in Renville County.

In 2010, Blandin Foundation awarded the group a feasibility study grant, and the JPB used the study results to educate the public about the need and opportunity for building a world-class network, and to seek financing.

In the fall of 2012, concerned about the project’s plan for how to structure the project’s debt service reserve fund, the Sibley Board of Commissioners, in a 3-2 vote, passed a resolution to withdraw from the JPB.

Undaunted, immediately following this vote, a group of farmers walked across the street and in an impromptu meeting, vowed to continue the effort by “going back to their roots” as one of them said, and form a coop.

RS Fiber Coop hired Hiawatha Broadband Corporation (HBC) to build and operate the gigabit fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP) network when the project was launched, and in June of this year, RS Fiber announced the formation of a long-term operating relationship with HBC.

Renville County could benefit from future grants. In 2019, Minnesota Valley Tel. Co. (MVTC) and Midco applied to upgrade service in Renville. (That doesn’t mean they will get the grant; they have only applied.)

Checklist:

  • 100/20 ranking: 62
  • 25/3 ranking: 81
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 6.6
  • Number of providers: 14

Details:

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)

Redwood County ranks 83 (out of 87) for broadband speeds of 100/20: code red

Redwood Falls County is not poised the to meet the state broadband goals for 2022 or 2026. They might be able to get some ideas back from a feasibility study they did in 2013 – work with partners and find funding.

Percentage of Served Population by Speed and Date
Redwood 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 33.56 33.56 34.37
25/3 (2022 goal) 70.94 72.07 41.80

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

The data seems skewed because after 2017, broadband provider Nuvera provided more granular DSL data. They corrected the speeds.

Redwood County has benefited from MN broadband grants:

  • 2017 – MVTC (Minnesota Valley Telephone Company, Inc.) – Milroy Broadband Project – GRANT $742,365
    Serving 246 unserved households and 22 unserved businesses in the Milroy Broadband Project located in both Redwood and Lyon Counties with service levels to 1 Gbps.
  • 2016 – ARVIG – REDWOOD COUNTY TELEPHONE MIDDLE MILE FIBER EXTENSION – GRANT: $27,998
    Serving 5 unserved households and 20 unserved businesses near Morgan, MN, in an area southeast of Redwood Falls with service levels to 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up.
  • 2015 – MVTV Wireless Middle Mile
    Grant award: $808,080
    This project is a Middle Mile broadband infrastructure buildout to upgrade backhaul capacity between site locations within 20 southwestern Minnesota counties: Blue Earth, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac Qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, Meeker, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Pipestone, Rock, Redwood, Renville, Sibley Swift, Watonwan, and Yellow Medicine.

Redwood County was a Blandin Broadband Community  in 2013; they released a feasibility study. While the study is somewhat dated now, one observation remains true

While residents in Redwood Falls have access to multiple broadband providers, the residents in the smaller communities and rural areas have less access to broadband services.

And some of their next steps for action remain apt..

1) A first step should include contacting RUS to discuss the project and available RUS loans and grants. [Might contact MN Office of Broadband Development and ask about Broadband Grants now.]

2) After that, meetings should be scheduled with each potential service provider partner to share the report and discuss cooperative efforts toward entering into a long term agreement.

3) Engaging the League of Minnesota Cities or other organizations that may be useful in determining the best path to choose in organizing Redwood County legally to enter into agreements with RUS and partners.

4) Engaging, local, state, and national politicians and their staff’s may be helpful in gaining support for any non-traditional track to implementing broadband in Redwood County.

Redwood County could benefit from future grants. In 2019, Minnesota Valley Tel. Co. (MVTC) applied to upgrade service in Redwood. (That doesn’t mean they will get the grant; they have only applied.)

Checklist:

  • 100/20 ranking: 83
  • 25/3 ranking: 75
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 7.5
  • Number of providers: 10

Details:

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)

Red Lake County ranks 26 (out of 87) for broadband speeds of 100/20: code yellow

For all practical purposes, Red Lake County has reached the state’s broadband speed goals for 2022. But they need to work toward the 2026 goal. They have not had to think about broadband for many years, but their current speed of broadband is not futureproof.

Percentage of Served Population by Speed and Date
2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 83.17 83.17 48.01
25/3 (2022 goal) 99.99 99.99 99.99

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Checklist:

  • 100/20 ranking: 26 (down from 18)
  • 25/3 ranking: 1
  • Has worked with Blandin: no
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: no
  • Household density: 4
  • Number of providers: 4

Details:

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)

Ramsey County ranks 2 (out of 87) for broadband speeds 100/20: code green

Ramsey County is likely to meet the MN speed goals for 2022 and 2026.

Percentage of Served Population by Speed and Date
Ramsey 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 99.84 99.82 99.39
25/3 (2022 goal) 99.86 99.84 99.74

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Ramsey County is a metro-based county where the market makes it feasible for broadband providers to serve broadband profitably. They have applied for state grants in the past. At one point they toyed with a municipally supported network. But the market  can take care of many of the needs.

Verizon recently announced plans for 5G expansion in St Paul. It’s likely that won’t impact their progress to speed goals, but it will offer a new option for the most urban areas.

Verizon recently announced plans for 5G expansion in St Paul. It’s likely that won’t impact their progress to speed goals, but it will offer a new option for the most urban areas of the county.

Checklist:

  • 100/20 ranking: 2 (no change)
  • 25/3 ranking: 3
  • Has worked with Blandin: no
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: no
  • Household density: 1191.3
  • Number of providers: 9

Details:

  • Find more article on https://bit.ly/2kgeboX
  • Districts: CD 4
    Senate: 38, 41, 42, 43, 53, 64, 65, 66, 67
    House: 38A, 41A, 41B, 42A, 42B, 43A, 43B, 53A, 64A, 64B, 65A, 65B, 66A, 66B, 67A, 67B
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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)

Pope County ranks 54 (out of 87) for broadband speeds of 100/20: code red

Pope County is unlikely to meet the broadband speed goals for 2022 and 2026 without a concerted effort to put into place their 2017 feasibility study (or an updated version).

Percentage of Served Population by Speed and Date
Pope 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 68.92 23.67 24.33
25/3 (2022 goal) 76.99 61.27 60.54

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Pope County has benefited from one state broadband grant:

  • 2017 – Hanson Communications – Minnewaska Area FTTP – GRANT $4,996,791
    Serving 274 unserved households and 535 unserved businesses; and 468 underserved households and 181 underserved businesses and 11 underserved community institution in Pope County with service levels to 1Gbps.

Pope County had a feasibility study done in 2017, supported by the Blandin Foundation. They found…

Installing fiber everywhere in the county would cost about $29.3 million, according to the study.  If the combination of wireless and fiber were used, the cost would drop to about $9 million.  And in another scenario, the study excluded the city of Glenwood and used a wireless and fiber combination for the rest of the county and that was estimated to cost about $6.5 million.

They have plans in the works, and that’s a big and necessary space. Now they need to find willing partners and move forward with plans to find a way to get the money necessary to make it happen.

Pope County could benefit from future grants. In 2019, Hanson and Arvig applied to upgrade service in Pope. (That doesn’t mean they will get the grant; they have only applied.)

Checklist:

  • 100/20 ranking: 54
  • 25/3 ranking: 64
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 6.6
  • Number of providers: 8

Details:

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)

Polk County ranks 19 (out of 87) for broadband speeds of 100/20: code green

Based as much on their recent momentum as on their numbers, Polk County could very well meet the speed goals for 2022 and 2026; their odds are probably higher for 2026.

Percentage of Served Population by Speed and Date
Polk 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 88.35 85.39 80.89
25/3 (2022 goal) 93.11 93 91.74

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Polk County has benefited from three state broadband grants:

  • 2016 – HALSTAD TELEPHONE COMPANY KERTSONVILLE AREA – GRANT: $296,665
    Serving 51 unserved households in Kertsonville and Onstad Townships in Polk with service levels to 1 Gigabit.
  • 2015 – Halstad Telephone Company – Gentilly Township
    Grant award: $424,460
    Halstad Telephone Company will build out FTTH infrastructure in Gentilly Township in Polk County to provide state speed goal broadband service and above to 114 households, 20 businesses, and 1 community anchor institution in the Village of Gentilly and Gentilly Township (except for the NW corner of the township which is served already). The total project costs are $931,000; the remaining $504,540 (54 percent local match) will be provided by Halstad Telephone Company.
  • 2014 – Halstad Telephone Co., Halstad Tract MN 11902500 FTTH
    Award: $1.65 million. Total project cost: $3.3 million. Impact: Service to 249 unserved locations in Polk County.

In 2018, Polk County also benefited when  Garden Valley Telephone Company received a loan of $20,360,000 from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)  and  when Red River Valley Cooperative Power Association received a $8,000,000 USDA loan to improve infrastructure for a smart grid system.  They also will receive almost $2 million in FCC funding over the next 10 years.

While Polk County has a way to go to meet the 2026 goals, they have a lot of activity working in that direction. It may take even more activity but it’s easier to build on growing momentum.

Polk County could benefit from future grants. In 2019, Halstad Telephone Company and Garden Valley Telephone Company applied to upgrade service in Polk. (That doesn’t mean they will get the grant; they have only applied.)

Checklist:

  • 100/20 ranking: 19 (down from 16)
  • 25/3 ranking: 23
  • Has worked with Blandin
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant
  • Household density: 6.4
  • Number of providers: 6

Details:

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)

Pipestone County ranks 35 (out of 87) for broadband speeds of 100/20: code yellow

Pipestone County could meet the broadband speed goals for both 2022 and 2026 with a concerted effort. The numbers aren’t too far from reality; the impact of Vast Broadband may make a big difference. If that impact isn’t great, they will need to work on building partnerships with other providers.

Percentage of Served Population by Speed and Date
Pipestone 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 79.73 79.73 44.54
25/3 (2022 goal) 81.10 79.73 79.73

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Pipestone County has benefited from two grants:

  • 2017 – Woodstock Telephone Company – Pipestone County Wireless – GRANT $363,851
    Serving 135 unserved households, 540 unserved businesses, and 1 unserved community anchor institution in rural Pipestone with service levels to a minimum of 25Mbps download and 3Mbps upload with higher speeds of 75Mbps/25Mbps.
  • 2015 – MVTV Wireless Middle Mile
    Grant award: $808,080
    This project is a Middle Mile broadband infrastructure buildout to upgrade backhaul capacity between site locations within 20 southwestern Minnesota counties: Blue Earth, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac Qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, Meeker, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Pipestone, Rock, Redwood, Renville, Sibley Swift, Watonwan, and Yellow Medicine.

In April (2019), Vast Broadband launched Gigabit access in Marshall, Pipestone and Worthington Counties. In September 2019, Woodstock Telephone’s grant-funded network was completed. It will be interesting to see the impact these projects will have on county’s pursuit of Minnesota’s 2026 speed goals.

Checklist:

  • 100/20 ranking: 35 (down from 22)
  • 25/3 ranking: 54
  • Has worked with Blandin: no
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 8.7
  • Number of providers: 6

Details:

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)