Lake County Broadband 2014 Update: ARRA funding helps

lakeI’m working on a County-by-County look at the State of Broadband in MN. My hope is to feature a county a day (in alphabetical order). In November, Connect Minnesota released their final report on broadband availability. Here is how Lake County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 1.6
  • Number of Households: 4,825
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 77.30%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 77.32%

Lake County received funding from the ARRA to improve access in their area. There were a number of bumps in the road for the projects but they are starting to enjoy their fruits of their labor with a growing number of people enjoying access to fiber.

Lake County has been a BBC community beginning from the last cohort. They worked on a number of different broadband adoption programs – their intergenerational program, connecting seniors with seniors to spread digital inclusion skills has received a lot of positive attention.

You can get a fun look at a video made a few years ago from the folks in Lake and Cook counties on their plans for broadband:

My hope is that these county-specific posts will help policy makers and county residents understand where they stand in terms of broadband access. Assuming it might get forwarded to folks who don’t eat and sleep broadband I wanted to provide a little background on broadband to help set the stage… Continue reading

Lac qui Parle County Broadband 2014 Update: FTTH!

lqpFor the upcoming weeks I’m working on a County-by-County look at the State of Broadband in MN. My hope is to feature a county a day (in alphabetical order). In November, Connect Minnesota released their final report on broadband availability. Here is how Lac qui Parle (LqP) County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 1.6
  • Number of Households: 3,155
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 99.36%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 99.36%

LqP is in great shape. The LqP Economic Development Authority and local provider (Farmers Mutual) received ARRA funding in 2010 to deploy FTTH through most of the county. The unusual thing about LqP is that the FTTH project didn’t include the county seat – because they had some broadband and therefore didn’t qualify for ARRA funding so the more rural areas leap-frogged ahead of Madison for better broadband access.

LqP had also worked on broadband adoptions programs. They have been part of Blandin initiatives (MIRC and BBC) through regional efforts. They have received national attention for their tricked out Computer Commuter and have been noted in several article for a hot location for “brain gain” – meaning a rural area where educated folks in the 30s-40s move to raise families.

LqP is a County that is well served and is making the most of that connectivity, especially for economic development.

My hope is that these county-specific posts will help policy makers and county residents understand where they stand in terms of broadband access. Assuming it might get forwarded to folks who don’t eat and sleep broadband I wanted to provide a little background on broadband to help set the stage… Continue reading

Koochiching County Broadband 2014 Update: Paul Bunyan’s GigaZone could help

koochichingFor the upcoming weeks I’m working on a County-by-County look at the State of Broadband in MN. My hope is to feature a county a day (in alphabetical order). In November, Connect Minnesota released their final report on broadband availability. Here is how Koochiching County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 1.9
  • Number of Households: 5,874
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 74%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 74%

Given the population density of Koochiching, their coverage is pretty good compared to others in their shoes. Although I bet that’s a tough sell to 26 percent of the county that isn’t served.

They have some engaged providers in the area. The Northeast Service Coop received ARRA funding to build out middle mile fiber a couple of years ago within eight counties, including Koochiching. With middle mile in place, it makes it easier for a last mile provider to come in.

Koochiching is served (at least in part) by Paul Bunyan; they are extending their GigaZone. That seems like good news to Koochiching. We could see more coverage in the area through them.

My hope is that these county-specific posts will help policy makers and county residents understand where they stand in terms of broadband access. Assuming it might get forwarded to folks who don’t eat and sleep broadband I wanted to provide a little background on broadband to help set the stage… Continue reading

Morrison County Broadband 2014 Update: State funding and BBC programming should help

morrisonFor the upcoming weeks I’m working on a County-by-County look at the State of Broadband in MN. My hope is to feature a county a day (in alphabetical order). In November, Connect Minnesota released their final report on broadband availability. Here is how Morrison County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 11.3
  • Number of Households: 13,080
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 38.32%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 38.44%

Morrison is not well served – but they are getting help. Morrison is part of CTC’s Minnesota Broadband Fund Virtual Highway Project

Consolidated Telephone Cooperative (CTC), Region 5 Virtual Highway Project. Awarded $2 million to bring high-speed Internet to 247 unserved and 90 underserved premises in Cass, Crow Wing and Morrison counties. This is a shovel-ready first phase in a regional broadband development effort. The full project cost is $4.22 million. The remaining $2.22 million (53 percent) in matching funds will be supplied by a private investment made by CTC.

Morrison, again through the Region 5 (aka Resilient Region) affiliation, is also a Blandin Broadband Community, which should help boost demand in broadband, which helps make the case for supply…

Region Five has been doing this for a number of years through their Resilient Region Plan, a development strategy that resulted from input by more than 600 Central Minnesotans. One of the Plan’s goals centers on using broadband technologies to improve bottom lines as well as quality of life.

“We are excited to be chosen to participate as a Blandin Broadband Community. Our “community” is the entire five-county region of Cass, Crow Wing, Todd, Morrison, and Wadena,” said Cheryal Hills, executive director of Region Five Development Corporation.

So things are happening – let’s just hope it’s enough to bring them up from 38 percent coverage!

My hope is that these county-specific posts will help policy makers and county residents understand where they stand in terms of broadband access. Assuming it might get forwarded to folks who don’t eat and sleep broadband I wanted to provide a little background on broadband to help set the stage…

How does Minnesota define broadband?

The 2015 broadband goal for Minnesota is ubiquitous access to speeds of 10-20 Mbps (down) and 5-10 Mbps (up). These numbers actually reflect 6-10 Mbps up because Minnesota goals are a little out of sync with standard federal measurements. Connect MN measured access with and without mobile access as it is often considered a slightly different service, in part because of the data caps involved with wireless services. (Data caps can make wireless an expensive primary broadband connection – especially for a household.)

Learn how the other Minnesota counties rank.

How is Minnesota working to promote border to border broadband?

In 2014, the Legislature approved $20 million for broadband grants to support broadband expansion in Minnesota. You can find a list of applicants online. The hope is the broadband sector is that more funding will be made available in 2015.

Mille Lacs County Broadband 2014 Update: Lots of adoptions programming, but need more deployment

mille lacsFor the upcoming weeks I’m working on a County-by-County look at the State of Broadband in MN. My hope is to feature a county a day (in alphabetical order). In November, Connect Minnesota released their final report on broadband availability. Here is how Mille Lacs County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 14.9
  • Number of Households: 10,166
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 44.03%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 55.99%

*note: for the  eagle eye readers, I am sneaking Mille Lacs in out of alphabetical order upon request. (I will get back to Koochiching next.) A colleague is gathering info on Mille Lacs so this info is helpful to her and she was able to share some with me – so we get a very complete look at Mille Lacs. (Also – if you have info you want me to include on a county please feel free to send it! atreacy@treacyinfo.com)

The schools in Mille Lacs are good users of broadband; Marc Erickson of ECMECC spoke recently about their work at the Minnesota Broadband Task Force meeting. The problem Marc points out is that while the schools are generally well served, students have uneven access at home. If they live in town, they have affordable, decent access; if they outside of town their options are limited an expensive. This makes is difficult for teachers to base homework on having access – although think of an assignment that wouldn’t benefit from broadband access.

Mille Lacs has been working on boosting broadband adoption through participation in the Blandin Broadband Communities (BBC) program. I learned at one of the BBC meetings that affordability is a big issue in Mille Lacs. Not only is affordability always an issue with non-adopters but broadband connection start at $75 per month in the area – where a similar connection might be $50 per month in the Twin Cities. They are working on programs that would provide low income homes with free computers through PCs for People and free or reduced broadband access – at least for a trial period. But the other side of the issue is that poverty rates in Mille Lacs County are high…

The unemployment rate is higher in Mille Lacs County than the state, and has been that way for quite some time. Onamia and Mille Lacs County also have much lower labor force participation rates than the state – only about 51.8% of the adult population in Onamia is in the labor force, as compared to 64.5% in Mille Lacs County and 70.3% in Minnesota. Female labor force participation rates are also much lower in Onamia (52.4%) and Mille Lacs County (60.7%) than in the state (66.4%).

Part of that is due to the city and county’s older population; but it is also due to the city and county’s lower educational attainment rates. Just 83.2% of Onamia adults aged 25 years and over had at least a high school diploma and just 14.6% had a bachelor’s degree or higher, as compared to 92.1% and 32.6% statewide, respectively. However, Onamia (25.7%) and Mille Lacs County (26.5%) did have a higher percentage of adults with some college, no degree than the state (22.3%); and a competitive percentage of people with an associate’s degree (9.2%, 9.9%, and 10.3%, respectively). But the region really lags in higher educational attainment.

This has led to lower incomes in the city and county, especially as compared to the state. The median household income in Onamia was $30,391 in 2013, which was significantly lower than in Mille Lacs County ($47,862) and the state ($59,836). Consequently, Onamia had a much higher percentage of households receiving cash public assistance income (16.0%) and food stamp/SNAP benefits (23.6%) than Mille Lacs County (3.1% and 9.4% respectively) and the state (3.5% and 8.2%).

The largest employing industry in Onamia is Leisure and Hospitality, accounting for over 60% of total employment in the 3rd quarter of 2014. Though it has many job opportunities, it is also one of the lowest-paying industries…

According to ReferenceUSA, the largest employers in Onamia are:

Organization Name                                         Employee Size                  

Grand Casino Mille Lacs                                 1000-4999 employees

Mille Lacs Band Corporate Commission  500-999 employees

Mille Lacs Hospital                                           250-499 employees

Mille Lacs Academy                                         100-249 employees

Mille Lacs Health System                              100-249 employees

Nay-Ah-Shing School                                      100-249 employees

Onamia School District                                   100-249 employees

As you’ll notice, the largest employers are the casino and a bunch of public sector education and health care service providers. Therefore, these are obviously the main employment opportunities for workers in Onamia: gaming workers, cashiers, recreation workers, cooks, waiters and waitresses, bartenders, dishwashers, and maids and housekeeping cleaners; as well as personal care aides, home health aides, CNAs, LPNs, RNs, child care workers, and teachers. There are other opportunities, but they would be pretty limited outside the areas of leisure and hospitality and education and health services. There may be small numbers of jobs in public administration, manufacturing, construction, and trade, transportation, and utilities. A quick look at MinnesotaWorks.net provides more evidence – most of the jobs currently posted in Mille Lacs County are in health care (PCAs, CNAs, LPNs, and RNs, as well as EMTs and Physician Assistants), child care, cooking and housekeeping, and a couple manufacturing positions. The largest number of jobs are posted by Mille Lacs Health System, Elim Care, and Grand Casino Mille Lacs.

This looks like an opportunity to use broadband  to lift up this whole community. Broadband could help with education (and the roots are there to support it!). Broadband can open the door to new employment opportunities – as we’ve seen in Otter Tail County. And my lifting up a county that needs the support the whole state reaps benefits in increased productivity and decreased expense for services provided.

Broadband deployment has been a tough problem to solve in Mille Lacs County. They are part of the East Central Broadband Initiative, working on broadband in the area through planning and convening. But they still sit with approximately have the county unserved.

My hope is that these county-specific posts will help policy makers and county residents understand where they stand in terms of broadband access. Assuming it might get forwarded to folks who don’t eat and sleep broadband I wanted to provide a little background on broadband to help set the stage… Continue reading

Kittson County Broadband 2014 Update: ARRA funding and MN Broadband Funds help but still only half served

kittsonFor the upcoming weeks I’m working on a County-by-County look at the State of Broadband in MN. My hope is to feature a county a day (in alphabetical order). In November, Connect Minnesota released their final report on broadband availability. Here is how Kittson County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 1.8
  • Number of Households: 1,986
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 43.08%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 43.08%

Kittson County is served, at least in part, by Wikstrom Telephone; they received ARRA funding; in 2012 they celebrated installation of fiber to Wikstrom customers. Earlier this year, Wikstrom received more through the Minnesota Broadband Fund to expand that network..

Wikstrom Telephone, Kittson, Marshall, Roseau Broadband Extension. Awarded $425,000 to bring fiber-to-the-home service to 73 unserved and 43 underserved locations in Kittson (15 premises), Marshall (50 premises) and Roseau (51 premises) counties. The total project costs are $943,827; the remaining $518,827 (55 percent local match) will be provided by Wikstrom.

Community and Economic Development Impact: The project leverages Wikstrom’s nearly 1,200 mile middle-mile and distribution fiber facilities to serve the grant project areas. Among other improvements in community and economic development capacity, broadband connectivity in these remote areas of northwestern Minnesota will enable more effective teleworking, which creates more and new employment opportunities for households. It also opens up additional labor force capacity for employers regardless of location.

Now 15 homes doesn’t seem like a lot – but frankly reaching the most remote areas is a game of onsie-twosies. Kittson County isn’t an area I know well. I got a flavor for the area at the last MN Broadband Task Force meeting when John Linnell mentioned that Kittson County has no stop lights – but as he pointed out at the meeting, they need for broadband to support healthcare in the community.

So there’s a recognized need and a push from a local provider and progress is being made – but they still sit with less than half the county getting service.

My hope is that these county-specific posts will help policy makers and county residents understand where they stand in terms of broadband access. Assuming it might get forwarded to folks who don’t eat and sleep broadband I wanted to provide a little background on broadband to help set the stage… Continue reading

Kandiyohi County Broadband 2014 Update: 14 percent broadband coverage – but plenty of interest

kandiyohiFor the upcoming weeks I’m working on a County-by-County look at the State of Broadband in MN. My hope is to feature a county a day (in alphabetical order). In November, Connect Minnesota released their final report on broadband availability. Here is how Kandiyohi County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 19.4
  • Number of Households: 16,732
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 13.18%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 57.47%

Kandiyohi was one of the original MIRC (Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities) partners. One of the projects I remember most was a local partnership with PCs for People and addition of a computer lab in the Somali Center. Technology helps prepare people for jobs and increase their quality of living but it is also a bridge to/for new immigrants to the area. They have been working on adoption with the residential and business communities. And the community has been host to some of Senator Schmit’s broadband tours.

The community has also been working on access – yet they still have only 14 percent coverage. As far back as 2007 they surveyed the community about broadband coverage; the efforts continue with another survey they are working on now. In 2013, Mediacom announced upgrades (DOCSIS 3.0) to several service areas, including Atwater and Sunberg in Kandiyohi County. They need more.

My hope is that these county-specific posts will help policy makers and county residents understand where they stand in terms of broadband access. Assuming it might get forwarded to folks who don’t eat and sleep broadband I wanted to provide a little background on broadband to help set the stage… Continue reading

Kanabec County Broadband 2014 Update: less than 30 percent broadband coverage

kanabecFor the upcoming weeks I’m working on a County-by-County look at the State of Broadband in MN. My hope is to feature a county a day (in alphabetical order). In November, Connect Minnesota released their final report on broadband availability. Here is how Kanabec County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 12
  • Number of Households: 6,413
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 28.54%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 68.78%

I have spent time in Kanabec. I did some e-marketing training with local businesses. The business owners are hard-working and willing to block out a whole weekend to building a website. The Chamber is very involved. They have some excellent local technical support. They were a BBC Community. They have done some fun programming for residents with their interactive video events. The community and the local businesses have invested in broadband adoption. They just need better access.

Kanabec has also been working on trying to get better access – especially through the Kanabec Broadband Initiative. They did a feasibility study in 2012 – the upshot was $2 million for FTTH in town, $9 million for rural FTTH or $7 for fiber-wireless hybrid. More recently they are part of the East Central Broadband efforts, a multi-county effort to improve broadband access in the area. Those folks are in a tough area where it’s difficult for the commercial providers to invest in communities because the business case for a ROI is unpredictable (at best). But they continue to work on it – hopefully their coverage will improve.

My hope is that these county-specific posts will help policy makers and county residents understand where they stand in terms of broadband access. Assuming it might get forwarded to folks who don’t eat and sleep broadband I wanted to provide a little background on broadband to help set the stage… Continue reading

Jackson County Broadband 2014 Update: FTTH but not ubiquitous

jacksonFor the upcoming weeks I’m working on a County-by-County look at the State of Broadband in MN. My hope is to feature a county a day (in alphabetical order). In November, Connect Minnesota released their final report on broadband availability. Here is how Jackson County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 6.1
  • Number of Households: 4,429
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 68.78%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 68.78%

Jackson County has been thinking about fiber since at least 2009, when several cities and townships in the County decided to invest in looking at fiber options. They are part of (or located in) Southwest Minnesota, which received ARRA funds to deploy fiber to the home in several communities in Southwestern Minnesota and began serving homes in December 2011 and starting research wireless options for outskirt areas at about the same time. The providers in the areas (Southwest Minnesota Broadband Services – SMBS)  have also been Blandin Broadband Communities and have been working on promoting adoption in the area through that program. They have had success with local hotspots and Social Media Breakfasts.

So given that activity I was surprised to see that the sit at less than 70 percent coverage. But you can see from the map what is happening . FIber is deployed (in organge) and wireless is available (in green) based on where the fiber exists. There are pockets of DSL. I’m not sure if those areas areas served by SMBS or not. I suspect that SMBS will play a role in getting the rest of the county covered as they can.

My hope is that these county-specific posts will help policy makers and county residents understand where they stand in terms of broadband access. Assuming it might get forwarded to folks who don’t eat and sleep broadband I wanted to provide a little background on broadband to help set the stage… Continue reading

Itasca County Broadband 2014 Update: poised to dramatically improve access soon

itascaFor the upcoming weeks I’m working on a County-by-County look at the State of Broadband in MN. My hope is to feature a county a day (in alphabetical order). In November, Connect Minnesota released their final report on broadband availability. Here is how Itasca County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 6.4
  • Number of Households: 18,773
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 55.13%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 66.72%

Itasca is the home county of the Blandin Foundation. They have been part of broadband adoption efforts for many years. Mostly recently the Itasca County BBC initiative highlighted many of their efforts to get businesses online and using social media to promote themselves and the community. Connect Itasca has been working to build a better business case for broadband deployment in the area by using a tool that helps with market research and development.

I know that Paul Bunyan is working on building their GigaZone; they started in Trout Lake Township and have plans for more. I’m sure that Paul Bunyan’s deployment will have a big impact on the broadband coverage in the County. Between adoption support from Blandin and deployment from Paul Bunyan, Itasca really has an opportunity to leap from metro counties with better broadband speeds.

My hope is that these county-specific posts will help policy makers and county residents understand where they stand in terms of broadband access. Assuming it might get forwarded to folks who don’t eat and sleep broadband I wanted to provide a little background on broadband to help set the stage… Continue reading

Hubbard County Broadband 2014 Update: numbers should improve with GigaZone services

hubbard mapFor the upcoming weeks I’m working on a County-by-County look at the State of Broadband in MN. My hope is to feature a county a day (in alphabetical order). In November, Connect Minnesota released their final report on broadband availability. Here is how Houston County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 8.7
  • Number of Households: 8,661
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 76.45%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 76.45%

Hubbard County has been vocal about their need for better broadband. In 2012, the Executive Director of Hubbard County Regional Economic Development Commission expressed concern saying, “Approximately 4,000 homes and businesses within the Park Rapids (MN) phone exchange currently are not served, and have to rely on satellite or dial up service. These options are unacceptable.” They had been working with Paul Bunyan Communications to expand broadband to those areas but efforts were thwarted when the FCC reformed Universal Service Funds, making the business case more difficult for the provider. Fast forward three years and it looks like good news may be on the way – Park Rapids and other parts of Hubbard County are on the short list to become GigaZones through Paul Bunyan as early as March 2015. Great news for the area!

And maybe this is a promising story for other communities that are dealing with dialup and satellite services.

My hope is that these county-specific posts will help policy makers and county residents understand where they stand in terms of broadband access. Assuming it might get forwarded to folks who don’t eat and sleep broadband I wanted to provide a little background on broadband to help set the stage… Continue reading

Houston County Broadband 2014 Update: strong educators but limited broadband

houstonFor the upcoming weeks I’m working on a County-by-County look at the State of Broadband in MN. My hope is to feature a county a day (in alphabetical order). In November, Connect Minnesota released their final report on broadband availability. Here is how Houston County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 13.8
  • Number of Households: 7,849
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 68.88%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 68.88%

Houston is not well poised to get to the state goal speeds in 2015. Surprisingly, they are the home to one of the largest online K12 schools in Minnesota. At least the school recognizes the importance of good broadband. Also, Houston is home to a “Top Ten Tech Savvy” Superintendent as voted by eSchool News. Superintendent Kim Ross was also on the original Minnesota Broadband Task Force – so again there are some broadband leaders, especially in the education sector in that region.

My hope is that these county-specific posts will help policy makers and county residents understand where they stand in terms of broadband access. Assuming it might get forwarded to folks who don’t eat and sleep broadband I wanted to provide a little background on broadband to help set the stage… Continue reading

Hennepin County Broadband 2014 Update: almost (but not quite!) ubiquitous coverage

hennepinFor the upcoming weeks I’m working on a County-by-County look at the State of Broadband in MN. My hope is to feature a county a day (in alphabetical order). In November, Connect Minnesota released their final report on broadband availability. Here is how Hennepin County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 784.3
  • Number of Households: 475,931
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 98.53%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 100%

I think it is safe to say that there is a market case for broadband in most of Hennepin County and that is why their coverage is so good. (Part of Minneapolis can get 10 Gig access!) But broadband availability has not always been what residents have wanted. There have been government and community efforts in Hennepin to encourage better broadband. Back in the day the City of Minneapolis worked with US Internet to provide wireless service through the City. (Coincidentally US Internet also the provider now offering 10 Gig in some parts of the city.) And there were efforts around Minnetonka to improve service for a while too (around 2011). So even urban areas have their challenges for access. (Affordability and adoption are also issues – but not necessarily part of these profiles.)

I must admit I’m much less interested in urban counties than rural counties so I look at these results from a rural eye. For example, I am surprised to see that Hennepin County does not have ubiquitous coverage – unless you include wireless service. It raises the question – is ubiquitous coverage possible? Hennepin County has nearly 800 homes per square mile and they can’t make the numbers work. Compare that to Lake of the Woods County with one person per square mile. (And 47% broadband coverage.) How can we make it happen in even area with much lower population density?

It’s difficult to see the coverage available with the map; upon first glance there’s lot of blue, which indicates unserved areas but also represents lakes. But it is clear to see that farther West you go the more purple (DSL) and pink (cable) you see. It really is Minneapolis and inner-ring suburbs that are very well served.

My hope is that these county-specific posts will help policy makers and county residents understand where they stand in terms of broadband access. Assuming it might get forwarded to folks who don’t eat and sleep broadband I wanted to provide a little background on broadband to help set the stage… Continue reading

Grant County Broadband 2014 Update: currently at about a B grade level

grantFor the upcoming weeks I’m working on a County-by-County look at the State of Broadband in MN. My hope is to feature a county a day (in alphabetical order). In November, Connect Minnesota released their final report on broadband availability. Here is how Grant County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 4.5
  • Number of Households: 2,601
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 85.85%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 85.85%

I know that Federated tried to get ARRA funds to increase broadband in Grant County back in 2010. In 2013, Gail Hedstrom (Librarian from Elbow Lake) spoke the Broadband Task Force about access in Grant County. She noted that because they have a coop in their area, they have some good broadband coverage but that it’s not ubiquitous. She also gave a unique view from the frontlines on the important of an informed and educated population and the role of broadband in helping the community become better informed and educated.

My hope is that these county-specific posts will help policy makers and county residents understand where they stand in terms of broadband access. Assuming it might get forwarded to folks who don’t eat and sleep broadband I wanted to provide a little background on broadband to help set the stage… Continue reading

Goodhue County Broadband 2014 Update: anchor tenants’ stronger connection than residential services

goodhueFor the upcoming weeks I’m working on a County-by-County look at the State of Broadband in MN. My hope is to feature a county a day (in alphabetical order). In November, Connect Minnesota released their final report on broadband availability. Here is how Freeborn County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 24
  • Number of Households: 18,730
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 67.62%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 93.54%

Goodhue is clearly one of the few counties where there’s a marked difference in mobile and wireline access. A little bit like Dakota County, I think the government office and anchor tenants are much better served than residents.

There’s a been a push to use broadband in the schools – for professional development. Last summer they got a grant from the Blanidn Foundation to provide online access for teachers to access online professional development. They have been working with neighboring counties (such as Dakota and Washington) to share fiber networks to increase value and redundancy.

In 2013, Mediacom upgraded services in Goodhue.

My hope is that these county-specific posts will help policy makers and county residents understand where they stand in terms of broadband access. Assuming it might get forwarded to folks who don’t eat and sleep broadband I wanted to provide a little background on broadband to help set the stage… Continue reading