Sibley County Broadband Profile 2020: Yellow rating: Ranking out 49 of 87

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Rank (from 100/20 megabits per second): 49
Code: Yellow

Annually, Blandin Foundation pulls together data from the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development and broadband news to gauge progress toward the state broadband goals (25 megabits per second download/3 Mbps upload by 2022 and 100 Mbps/20 Mbps by 2026). Leaders can use this information to improve broadband access and use in their communities. To see how the state is doing overall, or to compare counties, visit the Blandin Foundation interactive map. Or check out past years’ reports: 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Sibley County: RS Fiber should extend to the whole county

Sibley County has been working on better broadband for more than 10 years. They are a part of the original RS Fiber team. They have been a Blandin Broadband Community. They have benefited from a number of MN Border to Border grants in the past and they will benefit from two more projects that were awarded funds in the last round.

They are focused on broadband deployment and adoption, but they need a plan to get the test of the county covered.

Broadband Access:

2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 62.86 62.87 62.84 51.01
25/3 (2022 goal) 74.29 73.59 63.47 71.27

Computer Access:

County Households with computer …with desktop or laptop …with a smartphone …with a tablet et al …with other
State of MN 90.3% 81.1% 76.5% 59.3% 3.5%
Sibley 85.2% 72.1% 69.2% 51.5% 5.9%

What we learned in the past:

Sibley County and Renville County are original members of RS Fiber. 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 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.

Sibley County has benefited from three state grants:

  • 2017 – Winthrop Telephone Company, Inc. – Cornish Township FTTP Project – GRANT $365,895
  • 2015 – MVTV Wireless Middle Mile – Grant award: $808,080
  • 2014 – R-S Fiber Cooperative, FTTH Project – Award: $1 million.

Update from 2020:

Sibley County is part of a consortium (Region 9) that using broadband for better telehealth, especially for better mental telehealth.

Checklist:

  • 100/20 Mbps ranking: 49 (same)
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 67

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 Broadband Profile 2020: Yellow rating: Ranking out 67 of 87

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Rank (from 100/20 megabits per second): 67
Code: Yellow

Annually, Blandin Foundation pulls together data from the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development and broadband news to gauge progress toward the state broadband goals (25 megabits per second download/3 Mbps upload by 2022 and 100 Mbps/20 Mbps by 2026). Leaders can use this information to improve broadband access and use in their communities. To see how the state is doing overall, or to compare counties, visit the Blandin Foundation interactive map. Or check out past years’ reports: 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Sherburne County: Great government network, stalled progress

Sherburne County is a mixed bag of served, underserved and unserved. It’s surprising given their proximity to the Twin Cities but the market has driven deployment, which means densely populated areas are served and other areas aren’t. But the community is working hard to change that.

The county is focused on getting better broadband to unserved places; five years ago, they released a feasibility study. They have been installing conduit in strategic areas throughout the county as part of several road projects that are included within our 5-year county road improvement plan. An RFP for the fiber optic conduit was released in 2018 and Arvig was awarded the contract to fill several portions of the conduit. The County has continued to install additional conduit since that time and hope to work with additional providers to improve the broadband service throughout the County over the next several years.

COVID has reignited the interest in deployment because across the county people have experienced forced adoption as schools, jobs and services move online. COVID has accelerated the pace of technology adoption but the acceleration hasn’t been unilateral, so the County is still required to provide services online and offline for folks who don’t have technology. It’s a tricky and expensive position. The county, schools and businesses have to make accommodations to reach everyone but that is slowing them down in other ways.

Broadband Access:

2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 73.66 72.36 67.11 28.02
25/3 (2022 goal) 82.9 91.63 89.23 75.4

Computer Access:

County Households with computer …with desktop or laptop …with a smartphone …with a tablet et al …with other
State of MN 90.3% 81.1% 76.5% 59.3% 3.5%
Scott 93.6% 85.7% 82.2% 64.3% 2.5%

What we learned in the past:

Sherburne County was a 2015-2016 Blandin Broadband Community.

Sherburne County has benefited a few MN state grants:

  • 2017 – Palmer Wireless – Sherburne County Road 3 – GRANT $110,661
  • 2016 – PALMER WIRELESS BIG LAKE INDUSTRIAL PARK – GRANT: $ 90,988
  • 2016 – PALMER WIRELESS DEL TONE ROAD AND ST. CLOUD AIRPORT – GRANT: $ 179,400
  • 2014 – Palmer Wireless, Becker Industrial Park – Award: $151,934.

Update from 2020:

In the past few years, the Sherburne County Public Works Department has been installing conduit in strategic areas throughout the county as part of several road projects that are included within our 5-year county road improvement plan. The County’s goal in installing this conduit infrastructure is to “dig once” and facilitate the expansion of broadband service for County residents, businesses, institutions and public facilities.

An RFP for the fiber optic conduit was released in 2018 and Arvig was awarded the contract to fill several portions of the conduit. The County has continued to install additional conduit since that time and hope to work with additional providers to improve the broadband service throughout the County over the next several years.

The County has also recently been accepted into DEED’s Telecommuter Forward program and we look forward to working with DEED’s staff to promote telecommuting options to our residents and business owners.

Is broadband a help or hindrance in dealing with COVID?

Sherburne County met with Blandin on Broadband to talk about how their broadband situation helped or hindered the ability to deal with COVID restrictions.

Sherburne County is a mixed bag of served, underserved and unserved. COVID reignited the interest in deployment because across the county people have experienced forced adoption as schools, jobs and services move online. COVID has accelerated the pace of technology adoption but the acceleration hasn’t been unilateral, so the County is still required to provide services online and offline for folks who don’t have technology. It’s a tricky and expensive position.

Luckily for students, Sherburne has good cell coverage. Schools have been handing out mobile hotspots to students without home access and that has worked well.

With the mixed access, Sherburne is experiencing a digital divide. Some kids can learn from home, some people can work from home and other can’t. The broadband is so mixed that the community is forced to make policies to adapt to all residents, which means they may not compete (with schools and work opportunities) with counties that have better, ubiquitous broadband.

The good news is that Sherburne is the fastest growing county in population. While there was a slowdown in 2008, growth has caught up and new development is happening. Broadband follows new development; and development follows broadband but as growth continues those paths seem to catch up to each other.

Checklist:

  • Find more articles on broadband in Sibley County(http://tinyurl.com/ztm6c9n)
  • 100/20 Mbps ranking: 67 (down 6)
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 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)

Scott County Broadband Profile 2020: Yellow rating: Ranking out 19 of 87

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Rank (from 100/20 megabits per second): 19
Code: Yellow

Annually, Blandin Foundation pulls together data from the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development and broadband news to gauge progress toward the state broadband goals (25 megabits per second download/3 Mbps upload by 2022 and 100 Mbps/20 Mbps by 2026). Leaders can use this information to improve broadband access and use in their communities. To see how the state is doing overall, or to compare counties, visit the Blandin Foundation interactive map. Or check out past years’ reports: 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Scott County: Great government network, stalled progress

As part of the 7-county metro area, Scott County is a fairly metro county, so they have the advantage of proximity to the Twin Cities and some higher population density areas. Their real advantage, however, is a government network built in 2007, that brought broadband to the area and spurred partnerships that have helped that broadband grow.

Their progress toward the 100/20 Mbps goal, however, has been stalled for as long as we have been keeping tracking. They need renewed motivation. Maybe that will come in the form of benefitting from a project that was awarded a grant in the last round of the MN Border to Border funding.

Broadband Access:

2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 89.43 89.15 88.61 88.38
25/3 (2022 goal) 97.13 96.43 94.5 96.1

Computer Access:

County Households with computer …with desktop or laptop …with a smartphone …with a tablet et al …with other
State of MN 90.3% 81.1% 76.5% 59.3% 3.5%
Scott 94.6% 89.0% 84.3% 67.9% 4.7%

What we learned in the past:

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 saying that Scott County Government paid $35,000/year less for better broadband than before they built their own network.

Scott County has benefited from one MN broadband grant:

  • 2017 – Jaguar Communications – Sand Creek Township Area Broadband Project – GRANT $192,405

Update from 2020:

Broadband Properties Magazine featured Scott County’s broadband story, highlighting their partnerships in March 2020. Here’s a quick outline of events.

  • 2002: works with school district and the county seat of Shakopee to build a hub-and-spoke network connecting public facilities.
  • 2007: Minnesota Emergency Safety Board decided to upgrade the county 911 system – Scott goes fiber
  • 2008: Using public-safety grant money in combination with tax-levy dollars, Scott County implemented a countywide fiber ring with Zayo
  • 2009: expanded westward to join the Carver County network and swapped two fibers for two of Carver County’s fibers And in other directions with other providers
  • 2015: enters into a joint-build partnership with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community that saved hundreds of thousands of dollars for both parties

Scott County will benefit from a project funded in the last round of Border to Border grants:

  • 2019: BEVCOMM (Eckles Telephone Company) – Le Sueur County Project – GRANT $1,857,376
    This last mile project will upgrade approximately 417 unserved households, 88 unserved farms, 59 unserved businesses, and 4 community anchor institutions in rural areas around the communities of Montgomery, Heidelberg, and New Prague in Le Sueur, Rice, and Scott Counties. In a funding partnership with the State of Minnesota and Le Sueur County, BEVCOMM will improve broadband service levels up to 1 Gbps download and 1 Gbps upload, exceeding the 2022 and 2026 state speed goals. Sustainable broadband adoption will transform these unserved areas into highly-productive rural communities. This use and development of broadband will provide various home-based business options, stimulate economic growth, and stimulate innovation and investment. Education, health care, agriculture, energy efficiency, and public safety will improve with high-speed Internet access.
  • Total eligible project cost is $3,714,752
  • Local match is $1,857,376

Checklist:

  • 100/20 Mbps ranking: 19 (down 1)
  • Has worked with Blandin
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant
  • Household density: 122.4

Details:

  • Districts: CD 2
    Senate: 20, 55, 56
    House: 20A, 55A, 55B, 56A
  • Find your reps

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 Broadband Profile 2020: Yellow rating: Ranking out 39 of 87

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Rank (from 100/20 megabits per second): 39
Code: Yellow

Annually, Blandin Foundation pulls together data from the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development and broadband news to gauge progress toward the state broadband goals (25 megabits per second download/3 Mbps upload by 2022 and 100 Mbps/20 Mbps by 2026). Leaders can use this information to improve broadband access and use in their communities. To see how the state is doing overall, or to compare counties, visit the Blandin Foundation interactive map. Or check out past years’ reports: 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

St Louis County: Incremental but consistent improvements

Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation (IRRR) has partnered with the Blandin Foundation over the past couple years to provide broadband adoption support to communities on the Iron Range, including many in St Louis County. The communities have benefited directly with coaching, meetings and programming. But we can see the excitement is spreading as communities outside of the cohort are also talking about broadband. Broadband providers are coming in to promote solutions to these small, remote communities.

St Louis has benefited from MN Border to Border grants in the past and they will benefit from a project awarded funds in the last round too. The momentum in the community is strong. They are very active in the statewide broadband speed test and mapping. These efforts and the raised awareness should help them continue to improve access in the area.

Broadband Access:

2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 79.22 78.2 41.2 38.78
25/3 (2022 goal) 86.72 86.23 83.47 82.72

Computer Access:

County Households with computer …with desktop or laptop …with a smartphone …with a tablet et al …with other
State of MN 90.3% 81.1% 76.5% 59.3% 3.5%
St Louis 86.0% 74.6% 70.2% 52.6% 2.3%

What we learned in the past:

In 2010, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (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. They have worked with the Blandin Foundation and last year hosted a local broadband summit to discuss their needs based on a feasibility study.

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
    2017 – Paul Bunyan Communications – North Central Fiber – GRANT $802,620
  • 2017 – MEDIACOM FAYAL TOWNSHIP – GRANT: $263,345
  • 2014 – Mediacom, Pintar Road – Award: $137,848. Total project cost: $275,697.
  • 2014 – Northeast Service Cooperative – Frontier Communications Corp., Border to Border Phase I – Award: $1.96 million.

Update from 2020:

St Louis County has been part of a team spearheading a statewide broadband speed test and mapping solution to help get an more accurate  look at what’s happening with broadband.

The have providers looking at coming into the area, such as Treehouse Broadband, a fixed wireless provider. And communities, such as Greenwood Township, have been looking into solutions.

Towns in St Louis County have been participating in a special Iron Range cohort of the Blandin Broadband Communities, a broadband adoption program. Each of the following communities selected and deployed their own projects: Hibbing, Grizzlies (Bois Forte, Cook, Orr), Ely, Chisholm, Tower Economic Development Authority, Laurentian Chamber of Commerce, Iron Range Tourism Bureau, and East Range Joint Powers.

St Louis County will benefit from a Border to Border grant funded in the last round

  • 2019: Paul Bunyan Communications – North Central Minnesota Fiber Project– GRANT $2,562,916
    This last mile project will upgrade approximately 914 unserved and 439 underserved locations in parts of the Leech Lake Indian Reservation and rural portions of Cass, Itasca, Koochiching, and St. Louis counties. In a funding partnership with the State of Minnesota, Minnesota Iron Range Resource & Rehabilitation Board, Koochiching County, and Morcom Township, Paul Bunyan Communications will improve broadband service levels up to 1 Gbps download and 1 Gbps upload, exceeding the 2022 and 2026 state speed goals. A fiber-to-the premise project, the proposed project areas are a response to consumer demand and will provide relief in economically distressed communities that need new alternatives to diversify and strengthen.
  • Total eligible cost is $6,268,400
  • Local match is $3,705,484

Checklist:

  • 100/20 Mbps ranking: 39 (down 1)
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 12.4

Details:

  • Districts: CD 8
    Senate: 03, 06, 07, 11
    House: 03A, 03B, 06A, 06B, 07A, 07B, 11A
  • Find your reps

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 Broadband Profile 2020: Yellow rating: Ranking out 38 of 87

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Rank (from 100/20 megabits per second): 38
Code: Yellow

Annually, Blandin Foundation pulls together data from the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development and broadband news to gauge progress toward the state broadband goals (25 megabits per second download/3 Mbps upload by 2022 and 100 Mbps/20 Mbps by 2026). Leaders can use this information to improve broadband access and use in their communities. To see how the state is doing overall, or to compare counties, visit the Blandin Foundation interactive map. Or check out past years’ reports: 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Roseau County: Incremental but consistent improvements

Roseau County has benefited from a number of MN Border to Border grants in the past and will benefit from a grant awarded in the last round too. From 2017 to 2018, they literally went from zero to 60 with broadband coverage and the have been incrementally improving since then.

Broadband Access:

2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 79.41 72.59 67.3 0
25/3 (2022 goal) 81.92 75.88 67.3 62.16

Computer Access:

County Households with computer …with desktop or laptop …with a smartphone …with a tablet et al …with other
State of MN 90.3% 81.1% 76.5% 59.3% 3.5%
Roseau 85.5% 72.3% 68.5% 49.0% 1.3%

What we learned in the past:

Roseau has benefited from several MN broadband grants:

  • 2017 – Wikstrom Telephone – Wiktel NW MN Broadband – GRANT $1,307,785
  • 2016 – SJOBERG’S INC. ROSEAU AND LAKE OF THE WOODS COUNTIES — GRANT: $354,740
  • 2016 – CENTURYLINK THIEF RIVER MIDDLE MILE – GRANT: $1,324,400
  • 2016 – WIKSTROM TELEPHONE COMPANY WIKTEL NW MN – GRANT: $950,823
  • 2014 – Sjoberg Cable, Broadband Grant Proposal – Award $261,575
  • 2014 – Wikstrom Telephone, Kittson, Marshall, Roseau Broadband Extension Amount $425,000

Update from 2020:

Roseau County will benefit from a Border to Border grant funded in the last round

  • 2019: Wikstrom Telephone – Wiktel NW MN Broadband Project – GRANT $1,151,526
    This last mile project will upgrade approximately 316 unserved locations in areas of Kittson, Marshall, Lake of the Woods, Pennington, and Roseau Counties. In a funding partnership with the State of Minnesota, Wikstrom Telephone will improve broadband service levels up to 1 Gbps download and 1 Gbps upload, exceeding the 2022 and 2026 state speed goals. This project will provide service to an area with 1.6 subscribers per route mile of cable, in some cases extending from routes placed under the 2016 and 2017 Border to Border State Grant program. Broadband service is the key to economic development, successful education services for children, and allows at-home health care monitoring in this remote area.
  • Total eligible cost is $2,558,946
  • Local match is $1,407,420

Checklist:

  • 100/20 Mbps ranking: 38 (up 10)
  • Has worked with Blandin: no
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 3.7

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 Broadband Profile 2020: Green rating: Ranking out 1 of 87

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Rank (from 100/20 megabits per second): 1
Code: Green

Annually, Blandin Foundation pulls together data from the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development and broadband news to gauge progress toward the state broadband goals (25 megabits per second download/3 Mbps upload by 2022 and 100 Mbps/20 Mbps by 2026). Leaders can use this information to improve broadband access and use in their communities. To see how the state is doing overall, or to compare counties, visit the Blandin Foundation interactive map. Or check out past years’ reports: 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Rock County: Rocking it at Number One – again!

In 2014, Rock County Broadband Alliance received a MN Border to Border grant to bring Fiber to the Home (FTTH) to almost all of Rock County. The community worked with the cooperative. They worked on deploying broadband. They became a Blandin Broadband Community and they worked on broadband adoption.

They spoke with Blandin on Broadband about whether broadband was a help or hindrance in dealing with COVID restrictions. It was a huge help. They can do anything and everything online – and they do. Access to healthcare, especially mental health is even easier now. Civic engagement has increased now that meetings are held online. It was easy to get students the connections they need for distance education because affordability and devices were the roadblock and those were easier to fix that having to deploy broadband.

Broadband has changed their quality of life.

Broadband Access:

2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 99.93 99.93 99.93 66.32
25/3 (2022 goal) 99.93 99.93 99.93 68.17

Computer Access:

County Households with computer …with desktop or laptop …with a smartphone …with a tablet et al …with other
State of MN 90.3% 81.1% 76.5% 59.3% 3.5%
Rock 87.9% 76.9% 70.7% 54.0% 2.7%

What we learned in the past:

Rock County benefited from two MN broadband grants:

  • 2015 – MVTV Wireless Middle Mile – Grant award: $808,080
  • 2014 – Rock County Broadband Alliance (RCBA), FTTP Project – Award: $5 million.

Update from 2020:

Rock County was a Blandin Broadband Community (BBC); the Blandin broadband team met (virtually) with them this summer to hear how things were going. It turns out they were going well.

Is broadband a help or hindrance in dealing with COVID?
Rock County met with Blandin on Broadband to talk about how their broadband situation helped or hindered the ability to deal with COVID restrictions.

Countywide ubiquitous broadband means the pandemic is an inconvenience but not a stopper. Kids could access classes remotely. People could work from home. County Commission meetings went online, and attendance picked up. Libraries hosted online events. Entire families worked, learned and entertained themselves online without slowing each other down. Everyone could Zoom at the same time.

They talked about how having sufficient broadband has allowed them to collaborate and innovate.

Healthcare has moved online, which has been a boon. With changes in policy and reimbursement, nearly everyone has moved to online care. That has opened the door to greater mental healthcare coverage as counselors can now be located anywhere. It has improved privacy and has been a time saving for patients and their loved ones.

Broadband has kept folks living facilities, such a nursing homes, in touch with each other and the outside world. It’s been a social lifeline to seniors who have otherwise had strict COVID quarantine rules in place.

Checklist:

  • 100/20 Mbps ranking: 1 (no change)
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 8.1

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 Broadband Profile 2020: Yellow rating: Ranking out 31 of 87

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Rank (from 100/20 megabits per second): 31
Code: Yellow

Annually, Blandin Foundation pulls together data from the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development and broadband news to gauge progress toward the state broadband goals (25 megabits per second download/3 Mbps upload by 2022 and 100 Mbps/20 Mbps by 2026). Leaders can use this information to improve broadband access and use in their communities. To see how the state is doing overall, or to compare counties, visit the Blandin Foundation interactive map. Or check out past years’ reports: 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Rice County: Hovering near the bottom of the ranking list

Rice County policymakers recently talked about the importance of broadband in their area. They were joined by BEVCOMM, who explained that a current project is poised to boost broadband speeds in northwest Rice County, northeast Le Sueur County and southern Scott County, an area that includes 417 households, 88 farms, 59 businesses, and 4 “community anchor institutions.”

That will help them get to ubiquitous broadband, but they will need more.

Broadband Access:

2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 82.95 82.43 32.63 48.85
25/3 (2022 goal) 93.75 92.46 93.2 97.93

Computer Access:

County Households with computer …with desktop or laptop …with a smartphone …with a tablet et al …with other
State of MN 90.3% 81.1% 76.5% 59.3% 3.5%
Rice 88.0% 78.8% 73.4% 57.2% 4.8%

What we learned in the past:

Rice County saw an increase in broadband coverage in 2018.

Update from 2020:

The Faribault Daily News gathered views of broadband in Rice County from a variety of perspectives, including a local provider…

In western Rice County, Blue Earth-based BEVCOMM is working to expand and improve its services. CEO Bill Eckels said that the company recently completed an improved network for Morristown residents and is in the process of hooking them up to it.

BEVCOMM recently purchased Lonsdale Telephone Co., which serves Lonsdale and Morristown. In January, the governor announced that BEVCOMM has been awarded more than $2.5 million in grant funding for three separate broadband projects.

Roughly two thirds of that funding went to a project that will boost broadband speeds in northwest Rice County, northeast Le Sueur County and southern Scott County — an area which includes 417 households, 88 farms, 59 businesses, and 4 “community anchor institutions.”

Checklist:

  • 100/20 Mbps ranking: 31 (down 3)
  • Has worked with Blandin: no
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: no
  • Household density: 43.2

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 Broadband Profile 2020: Red rating: Ranking out 65 of 87

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Rank (from 100/20 megabits per second): 65
Code: Red

Annually, Blandin Foundation pulls together data from the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development and broadband news to gauge progress toward the state broadband goals (25 megabits per second download/3 Mbps upload by 2022 and 100 Mbps/20 Mbps by 2026). Leaders can use this information to improve broadband access and use in their communities. To see how the state is doing overall, or to compare counties, visit the Blandin Foundation interactive map. Or check out past years’ reports: 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Renville County: Hovering near the bottom of the ranking list

Renville County has been working on better broadband for more than 10 years. They are a part of the original RS Fiber team. They have benefited from a number of MN Border to Border grants in the past and they will benefit from two more projects that were awarded funds in the last round.

They are focused on broadband but are stalled in getting ubiquitous broadband.

Broadband Access:

2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 63.23 59.06 51.78 50.43
25/3 (2022 goal) 67.74 61.9 55.06 59.27

Computer Access:

County Households with computer …with desktop or laptop …with a smartphone …with a tablet et al …with other
State of MN 90.3% 81.1% 76.5% 59.3% 3.5%
Redwood 83.4% 71.7% 65.5% 46.0% 6.0%

What we learned in the past:

Renville County and Sibley County are original members of RS Fiber. 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 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.

Renville County has benefited from three state grants:

  • 2016 – RENVILLE COUNTY HBC & RS FIBER – GRANT: $807,966
  • 2015 – MVTV Wireless Middle Mile – Grant award: $808,080
  • 2014 – R-S Fiber Cooperative, FTTH Project – Award: $1 million.

Update from 2020:

Renville County will benefit from two MN Border to Border grants awarded in the last round:

  • 2019: Nuvera Communications, Inc. – Hutchinson W Project – GRANT $346,282
    This last mile project will serve 43 households, 11 businesses, and 55 farms in areas of Cedar Mills Township in Meeker County, and Boon Lake and Brookfield Townships in Renville County. In a funding partnership with the State of Minnesota, Nuvera Communications, Inc. will improve broadband service levels up to 1 Gbps download and 1 Gbps upload, exceeding the 2022 and 2026 state speed goals. This fiber-to-the-premises network will provide reliable, affordable, high quality broadband to rural farms, businesses, and homes. Residents will also have increased access to health care and education, and the opportunity to telecommute or start their own businesses.
  • Total eligible cost is $910,704
  • Local match is $564,422
  • 2019: Midco (Midcontinent Communications) – Renville Project – GRANT $230,835
    This last mile project will upgrade approximately 644 unserved households and 33 unserved businesses, farms and community anchor institutions in areas of the town of Renville in Renville County. In a funding partnership with the State of Minnesota, Midco will improve broadband service levels up to 1 Gbps download and 20 Mbps upload, meeting or exceeding the 2022 and 2026 state speed goals. The broadband network will improve access to e-learning applications, and rural health care resources; make agricultural operations more efficient; and will stimulate a more robust local area economy.
  • The total eligible cost is $923,338
  • Local match is $692,503

Checklist:

  • 100/20 Mbps ranking: 65 (down 3)
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 6.6

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)

Redwood County Broadband Profile 2020: Red rating: Ranking out 86 of 87

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Rank (from 100/20 megabits per second): 86
Code: Red

Annually, Blandin Foundation pulls together data from the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development and broadband news to gauge progress toward the state broadband goals (25 megabits per second download/3 Mbps upload by 2022 and 100 Mbps/20 Mbps by 2026). Leaders can use this information to improve broadband access and use in their communities. To see how the state is doing overall, or to compare counties, visit the Blandin Foundation interactive map. Or check out past years’ reports: 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Redwood County: Hovering near the bottom of the ranking list

Redwood County has been working on broadband for many years; they were a Blandin Broadband Community in 2013. They have benefited from a few broadband grants and they will benefit from a project awarded in the latest round too. They keep going, but have a long way to go.

Broadband Access:

2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 36.48 33.56 33.56 34.37
25/3 (2022 goal) 44.59 70.94 72.07 41.51

Computer Access:

County Households with computer …with desktop or laptop …with a smartphone …with a tablet et al …with other
State of MN 90.3% 81.1% 76.5% 59.3% 3.5%
Redwood 83.9% 74.4% 66.9% 50.2% 3.7%

What we learned in the past:

Redwood County was a Blandin Broadband Community in 2013. The released a feasibility study at that time.

Redwood County has benefited from MN broadband grants:

  • 2017 – MVTC (Minnesota Valley Telephone Company, Inc.) – Milroy Broadband Project – GRANT $742,365
  • 2016 – ARVIG – REDWOOD COUNTY TELEPHONE MIDDLE MILE FIBER EXTENSION – GRANT: $27,998
  • 2015 – MVTV Wireless Middle Mile – Grant award: $808,080

Update from 2020:

Redwood County will benefit from a Border to Border grant awarded in the last round:

  • 2019: MVTC (Minnesota Valley Telephone Company, Inc.) – Rural Lucan Fiber Project – GRANT $635,400
    This middle and last mile project will upgrade approximately 23 unserved households, 99 unserved farms, and three unserved businesses in portions of Vesta, Granite Rock, Johnsonville, Waterbury, Westline, and Vail Townships in Redwood County. In a funding partnership with the State of Minnesota, MVTC will improve broadband service levels up to 1 Gbps download and 1 Gbps upload, exceeding the 2022 and 2026 state speed goals. Sustainable broadband adoption will transform these unserved areas into highly productive rural communities, including the ability to make full use of precision agriculture advancements. Education, health care, energy efficiency, and public safety will improve with high-speed internet access.
  • Total eligible cost is $1,412,000
  • Local match is $776,600

Checklist:

  • 100/20 Mbps ranking: 86 (down 3)
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 7.5

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)

Red Lake County Broadband Profile 2020: Yellow rating: Ranking out 30 of 87

Rank (from 100/20 megabits per second): 30
Code: Yellow

Annually, Blandin Foundation pulls together data from the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development and broadband news to gauge progress toward the state broadband goals (25 megabits per second download/3 Mbps upload by 2022 and 100 Mbps/20 Mbps by 2026). Leaders can use this information to improve broadband access and use in their communities. To see how the state is doing overall, or to compare counties, visit the Blandin Foundation interactive map. Or check out past years’ reports: 201720182019 and 2020.

Red Lake has been a top-ranking county for access to 25/3 since we have been tracking county ranking. In 2017, they saw an upgrade that lifted much of their access from 25/3 to 100/20 but nothing has happened since.

Broadband Access:

2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 83.18 83.17 83.17 48.01
25/3 (2022 goal) 99.86 99.99 99.99 99.99

Computer Access:

County Households with computer …with desktop or laptop …with a smartphone …with a tablet et al …with other
State of MN 90.3% 81.1% 76.5% 59.3% 3.5%
Red Lake 74.8% 72.4% 62.6% 53% 3%

What we learned in the past:

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.

Update from 2020:

Red Lake has two providers that offer service ar 100/20: Garden Valley Telephone and Sjoberg Inc. Midcontinent and Hughes Net (satellite) provide services at 25/3. To reach 2026 speed goals, Red Lake would need to work with Garden Valley and/or Sjoberg to extend their faster services and/or work with the other providers to improve their service. Satellite won’t get to 100/20 but Midcontinent services would. They haven’t received a OBD grant in the past, so they might be likely candidate if they tried. But with nearly ubiquitous access to 25/3, they may not have felt the punch, that may have changed due to COVID and increased need for broadband speeds at home.

Checklist:

  • 100/20 ranking: 30 (down from 26)
  • 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 Broadband Profile 2020: Green rating: Ranking out 2 of 87

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Rank (from 100/20 megabits per second): 2
Code: Green

Annually, Blandin Foundation pulls together data from the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development and broadband news to gauge progress toward the state broadband goals (25 megabits per second download/3 Mbps upload by 2022 and 100 Mbps/20 Mbps by 2026). Leaders can use this information to improve broadband access and use in their communities. To see how the state is doing overall, or to compare counties, visit the Blandin Foundation interactive map. Or check out past years’ reports: 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Ramsey County: nearly ay 2026 goal already

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 considered a municipally supported network.

Broadband Access:

2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 99.84 99.84 99.82 99.39
25/3 (2022 goal) 99.86 99.86 99.84 99.75

Computer Access:

County Households with computer …with desktop or laptop …with a smartphone …with a tablet et al …with other
State of MN 90.3% 81.1% 76.5% 59.3% 3.5%
Ramsey 91.0% 81.7% 77.2% 59.2% 5.1%

What we learned in the past:

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 considered a municipally supported network. But the market will take care of many of the needs.

Update from 2020:

Because thay make an easy business case, Ramsey County doesn’t need to do much to encourage better broadband.

Checklist:

  • 100/20 Mbps ranking: 2 (no change)
  • Has worked with Blandin: no
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: no
  • Household density: 1191.3

Details:

  • 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
  • Find your reps

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 Broadband Profile 2020: Red rating: Ranking out 51 of 87

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Rank (from 100/20 megabits per second): 51
Code: Red

Annually, Blandin Foundation pulls together data from the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development and broadband news to gauge progress toward the state broadband goals (25 megabits per second download/3 Mbps upload by 2022 and 100 Mbps/20 Mbps by 2026). Leaders can use this information to improve broadband access and use in their communities. To see how the state is doing overall, or to compare counties, visit the Blandin Foundation interactive map. Or check out past years’ reports: 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Pope County: near bottom of the broadband ranking

In 2017, Pope County unveiled a feasibility study that found that installing fiber everywhere in the county would cost about $29.3 million.  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. Policymakers have publicly recognized the need for improved broadband, especially during COVID.

Broadband Access:

2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 73 68.92 23.67 24.33
25/3 (2022 goal) 80.81 76.99 61.27 62.73

Computer Access:

County Households with computer …with desktop or laptop …with a smartphone …with a tablet et al …with other
State of MN 90.3% 81.1% 76.5% 59.3% 3.5%
Pope 84.8% 75.6% 67.2% 53.1% 2.1%

What we learned in the past:

Pope County had a feasibility study done in 2017, supported by the Blandin Foundation. They found that installing fiber everywhere in the county would cost about $29.3 million.  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.

Pope County has benefited from one state broadband grant:

  • 2017 – Hanson Communications – Minnewaska Area FTTP – GRANT $4,996,791

Update from 2020:

Polk County hasn’t had much news to share related to broadband but Paul Gerde, chairman of Minnesota Rural Counties and a member of the Pope County Board of Commissioners, had a letter to the editor that recognizes that rural MN needs broadband to survive coronavirus.

Checklist:

  • 100/20 Mbps ranking: 51 (up 3)
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 6.6

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)

Polk County Broadband Profile 2020: Green rating: Ranking out 17 of 87

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Rank (from 100/20 megabits per second): 17
Code: Green

Annually, Blandin Foundation pulls together data from the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development and broadband news to gauge progress toward the state broadband goals (25 megabits per second download/3 Mbps upload by 2022 and 100 Mbps/20 Mbps by 2026). Leaders can use this information to improve broadband access and use in their communities. To see how the state is doing overall, or to compare counties, visit the Blandin Foundation interactive map. Or check out past years’ reports: 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Polk County: near bottom of the broadband ranking

Polk County has benefited from MN Border to Border grants in the past. And they will benefit from a project in the last funding round. Grants went to Halstad Telephone, a local cooperative. They also benefited from a federal grant to Garden Valley Telephone. They are fortunate to have engaged providers in their area. An engaged provider can make a big difference.

Broadband Access:

2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 91.76 88.35 85.39 80.89
25/3 (2022 goal) 93.09 93.11 93 90.78

Computer Access:

County Households with computer …with desktop or laptop …with a smartphone …with a tablet et al …with other
State of MN 90.3% 81.1% 76.5% 59.3% 3.5%
Pipestone 84.3% 74.1% 69.5% 52.1% 2.6%

What we learned in the past:

Polk County has benefited from three state broadband grants:

  • 2016 – HALSTAD TELEPHONE COMPANY KERTSONVILLE AREA – GRANT: $296,665
  • 2015 – Halstad Telephone Company – Gentilly Township – Grant award: $424,460
  • 2014 – Halstad Telephone Co., Halstad Tract MN 11902500 FTTH Amount $1.65 million

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.

Update from 2020:

Polk County will benefit from a MN Border to Border broadband grant awarded in the last round of funding.

  • 2019: Halstad Telephone Company – Rural East Grand Forks Expansion Project – GRANT $440,000
    This last mile project will upgrade approximately 79 unserved and 22 underserved locations in areas of Rinehart, Huntsville, Sullivan, and Grand Forks Townships in Polk County. In a funding partnership with the State of Minnesota, Halstad Telephone Company will improve broadband service levels up to 1 Gbps download and 1 Gbps upload, exceeding the 2022 and 2026 state speed goals. Families living in the project area will improve their education and health with access to e-learning, e-medicine and other quality-of-life opportunities provided through a robust broadband connection. Farms wills be more efficient and reduce their impacts on the environment by utilizing precision farming techniques due to the increased ability to transfer large amounts of agricultural data to consultants in shorter periods of time. Businesses can increase productivity, allow remote working, and better compete on a worldwide scale as they use the improved broadband for operations, marketing, data analytics, and expanded e-commerce opportunities.
  • Total eligible cost is $1,067,362
  • Local match is $627,362

Checklist:

  • 100/20 Mbps ranking: 17 (up 2)
  • Has worked with Blandin
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant
  • Household density: 6.4

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)

Pipestone County Broadband Profile 2020: Yellow rating: Ranking out 37of 87

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Rank (from 100/20 megabits per second): 37
Code: Yellow

Annually, Blandin Foundation pulls together data from the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development and broadband news to gauge progress toward the state broadband goals (25 megabits per second download/3 Mbps upload by 2022 and 100 Mbps/20 Mbps by 2026). Leaders can use this information to improve broadband access and use in their communities. To see how the state is doing overall, or to compare counties, visit the Blandin Foundation interactive map. Or check out past years’ reports: 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Pipestone County: near bottom of the broadband ranking

Pipestone County has benefited from MN Border to Border grants in the past. CenturyLink made upgrades late last year, however the new speeds do not meet the 2026 speed goals. It is unfortunate that they didn’t increase the upload speeds because it’s unlikely that they will want to upgrade in the near future so soon after an upgrade. That will leave those customers in a precarious position as demand for upload speeds increases. With COVID restrictions, we are seeing that happen more quickly.

Broadband Access:

2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 79.73 79.73 79.73 44.54
25/3 (2022 goal) 82.97 81.1 79.73 79.36

Computer Access:

County Households with computer …with desktop or laptop …with a smartphone …with a tablet et al …with other
State of MN 90.3% 81.1% 76.5% 59.3% 3.5%
Pipestone 83.3% 71.1% 66.5% 49.0% 3.2%

What we learned in the past:

Pipestone County has benefited from two grants:

  • 2017 – Woodstock Telephone Company – Pipestone County Wireless – GRANT $363,851
  • 2015 – MVTV Wireless Middle Mile
    Grant award: $808,080

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.

Update from 2020:

CenturyLink installed fiber around the city of Pipestone as part of a broadband upgrade that includes the installation of 25 fiber nodes throughout the community. With the upgrades, fiber-optic service will be offered at 100 Mbps downloading, 10 Mbps uploading. Unfortunately, that doesn’t meet the 2026 speed goal requirements.

Checklist:

  • 100/20 Mbps ranking: 37 (down 2)
  • Has worked with Blandin: no
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 8.7

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)

Pine County Broadband Profile 2020: Red rating: Ranking out 84 of 87

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Rank (from 100/20 megabits per second): 84
Code: Red

Annually, Blandin Foundation pulls together data from the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development and broadband news to gauge progress toward the state broadband goals (25 megabits per second download/3 Mbps upload by 2022 and 100 Mbps/20 Mbps by 2026). Leaders can use this information to improve broadband access and use in their communities. To see how the state is doing overall, or to compare counties, visit the Blandin Foundation interactive map. Or check out past years’ reports: 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Pine County: near bottom of the broadband ranking

Pine County has been actively seeking better broadband for years; they were part of a Blandin Broadband Communities cohort a few years ago. Unfortunately, much of Pine County is served by one large national provider. That may be a bottleneck to better access in those areas, because as we noted last year, lack of competition can impact the drive for improvement.

Broadband Access:

2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 39.13 37.26 38.18 37.37
25/3 (2022 goal) 60.24 58.28 42.84 40.12

Computer Access:

County Households with computer …with desktop or laptop …with a smartphone …with a tablet et al …with other
State of MN 90.3% 81.1% 76.5% 59.3% 3.5%
Pine 81.7% 72.0% 63.5% 46.9% 2.3%

What we learned in the past:

Pine County partnered with rural sections of three neighboring counties to participate as the Central Woodlands in the 2015-2016 Blandin Broadband Community cohort, which means they have a focus on increasing broadband use in the community. Last year we saw that much of the County is served by one large national provider. That may be a bottleneck to better access in those areas, because as we noted last year, lack of competition can impact the drive for improvement.

Pine County has benefited from a MN broadband grant:

  • 2017 – SCI (Savage Communications Inc.) — Dell Grove Township Broadband Expansion – GRANT $118,248

Update from 2020:

No broadband news from Pine County since the last broadband profile.

Checklist:

  • 100/20 Mbps ranking: 84 (down 3)
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant
  • Household density: 7.9

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)