Mower County Broadband 2014 Update: maybe Austin can lead the way

mowerI’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 Mower County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 22.2
  • Number of Households: 10,166
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 90.22%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 90.87

Mower County is one of those counties that looks like it’s in good shape; and it is unless you are one of the 9 percent. Austin, the county seat, is a community that been focused on broadband for a while. They made a serious bid to become a Google Fiber community back in 2010. Before that they were looking at municipal wireless hotspots.

More recently they stay focused on fiber. Last summer they released their community vision based on a fiber feasibility study they commissioned…

Vision 2020 released the results of a feasibility study Friday which showed Austin could support a fiber Internet service. According to the study, the high-speed broadband Internet service could be built for about $35 million and could be run by all kinds of organizations, from public utilities to a private co-op.

Under the Gig Austin plan, all of the Austin Public Schools district could access fiber Internet. Laura Helle, director of vision creation at Vision 2020, said the committee believed rural properties near the city that were still part of the district would need access as some providers don’t cover those areas.

They just need to find a way to broaden their view to include the whole county.

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

Martin County Broadband 2014 Update: 60 percent but poised to change

martinI’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 Martin County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 12.4
  • Number of Households: 9,035
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 59.17%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 59.17%

The bad news for Martin County is that they are not well served; they aren’t the worst but they still at less than 60 percent served. The good news is that Martin County qualified for a Minnesota Broadband Fund award through Dunnell Telephone…

Dunnell Telephone Co., City of Dunnell, Martin County. Awarded $625,000 as a 42 percent match for a $1.49 million project to build connections at state speed goals for 174 unserved households in Dunnell in Martin County. The remaining $867,650 (58 percent match) will be provided by Dunnell Telephone Co.

Community and Economic Development Impact: In addition to connecting local home-based businesses and providing local online learning opportunities, this project also increases access to health care services, as there are no local health care facilities in the area.

Also they were named a Blandin Broadband Community last fall…

Martin County hopes to increase access to computers and enhance skills and connectivity for all community members. There is a need for a better broadband opportunity and experience for our residents and businesses county wide. This will provide an opportunity that will benefit the residents and business in Martin County.

“On behalf of the Martin County EDA-IGNITE, we are excited that Martin County has been selected to become a Blandin Broadband Community. Broadband is an integral part of our infrastructure for our residents and businesses. We embrace the opportunity to work with the Blandin Foundation to enhance broadband in Martin County,” said Scott Higgins, Martin County Coordinator.

Leading their work is the Martin County Economic Development Agency. Together, with educational, nonprofit and business partners throughout the county, the EDA will rally local leaders to develop a sustainable model for broadband access and use in Martin County.

So they are on track to see progress.

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

Mahnomen County Broadband 2014 Update: at 55 percent coverage better broadband needs attention

mahnomenI’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 Mahnomen County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 3.5
  • Number of Households: 2,019
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 55.4%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 55.4%

Mahnomen County is clearly at a disadvantage. They were at less that 40 percent coverage in 2011; in fact the FCC listed Mahnomen as one of the 10 least served counties at that same time. So there’s been some improvement. But not much.

CenturyLink (in 2013) expressed interest in Connect American Fund (CAF) funding in Mahnomen. CenturyLink has also supported the local schools. (It was part of a settlement of sorts.) There’s room for more attention and it will require more attention to get them to a better place with broadband 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… Continue reading

McLeod County Broadband 2014 Update: Well served

mcleodI’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 McLeod County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 28.9
  • Number of Households: 14,639
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 98.36%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 98.66%

McLeod County is well covered for broadband. I don’t hear a lot about it. I know the Eagle Cam in Hutchinson is a big hit online. And actually Hutchinson has been pretty active with broadband from the Little Crow Telemedia Network, they were part of a recent computer donation tour from PCs for People and the local paper has been featuring broadband for years.

Whatever they’re doing, it’s working. I think their location and local providers such as NU-Telecom and MVTV Wireless help.

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

Lyon County Broadband 2014 Update: Less than 5 percent coverage!

lyonI’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 Lyon County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 14.2
  • Number of Households: 10,227
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 4.14%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 4.14%

Lyon County is clearly in bad shape when it comes to broadband. Or there’s something very strange about how the numbers were collected.

When I look up addresses in the area it looks like there are a few providers: Arvig, Charter, Frontier MVTV Wireless but none of them must be serving the whole area. I know MVTV is always looking to expand; maybe that offers possibility for the community. We have seen counties with lower population density encourage providers to come into the area. But at this point I haven’t seen or heard of much development (adoption or deployment) happening in the area. Although I’d be delighted to hear that I’m wrong and there are efforts in motion.

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

Lincoln County Broadband 2014 Update: Need the help they are getting from the MN Broadband Fund

lincolnI’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 Lincoln County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 4.7
  • Number of Households: 2,574
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 40.90%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 40.90%

Lincoln County could use some help. The good news is that they are getting some. I wrote about the project and will just borrow from what I said then…

With 40 percent broadband coverage, Lincoln County can certainly use the support and Connect Minnesota maps indicate that Lincoln has been hovering around that mark since 2011; the definition of broadband used for the maps in 2011 was slower – but percentage-wise the county remains drastically underserved. Yet I know there has been interest in improvements. A year ago, MVTV voiced an interest in serving Lincoln County with wireless services. (I’m not sure if the plan was to include Hendricks.)Mediacom upgraded services in three communities (Ivanhoe, Lake Benton and Tyler) in Lincoln in 2013; Hendricks did not make that shortlist. It would be nice to see the OBD funded project spur expansion from Mediacom and MVTV wireless too.

And here is a description of the funded project…

Interstate Telecommunications Cooperative (ITC), Hendricks Town FTTP. Awarded $700,000 to bring the town of Hendricks in Lincoln County service that surpasses state speed goals. Underserved customers that would benefit include 377 households and farms, 57 businesses, three home-based businesses and eight community anchor institutions. The full project cost is $1.87 million; the remaining $1.17 million (63 percent) match will be provided by a private investment made by ITC.

Community and Economic Development Impact: The Hendricks Town FTTP Project will promote rural economic development by providing access to state-of-the-art broadband services to 100 percent of the households and businesses in the funded service area. It will expand the educational, economic and health care opportunities for the community. It will also address public safety concerns in the area by delivering highly desirable broadband services to community anchor institutions and wireless towers in the area. The proposed network has the ability to provide broadband data speeds of 1 Gbps or more in the future. ITC and city leaders believe that sustainable broadband adoption will transform this underserved, low- income area into a highly productive community.

Now it looks like 377 households will get service, which doesn’t entirely close the gap but with a population of 2,574 it gets them closer.

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

Le Sueur County Broadband 2014 Update: Uneven access

le sueurI’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 Le Sueur County stacked up:

  • Household Density: 22.7
  • Number of Households: 10,758
  • Percentage serviced (without mobile): 87.86%
  • Percentage serviced (with mobile): 98.47%

Le Sueur County is one of those where mobile access makes a difference. With mobile, they are closer to making the state goal; without it they’re more at a B grade. (Their neighbors in Blue Earth County are in a similar position.)

Local folks are aware of the situation. Last year the St Peter Herald painted a picture of rural Le Sueur…

But in places like rural Le Sueur County, high-speed Internet is still not an option for many residents.

More than 80 households located along Hwy. 169 between St. Peter and Le Sueur do not have access to broadband, data from Connect Minnesota, which is based on recent Census data, shows.

Residents between Le Sueur and Le Center and outside the limits of both cities generally lack access, as well as residents living outside Cleveland near Saviadge Lake, Goldsmith Lake and North Goldsmith Lake.

Like many other counties, the access in the county is uneven. Mankato is well served, Cleveland is not. Mankato was active in pursuing broadband a few years ago – and broadband has been noted as a tool that has supported a “rural revival” in the area. The just need to extend the revival to town outskirts.

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