Changes at the MN Office of Broadband Development

People around the US, well people who care about broadband, are talking about the Minnesota Model – speed goals, State support and a grant program that works as well as the Border to Border grants. The Office of Broadband Development (OBD) has been instrumental at making that work.

So we’re a little sad for us, but happy for the director, Danna Mackenzie to see that she is taking a break with an extended leave of absence. She has worked long, hard hours perfecting the Minnesota model.

She’s leaving the work with a solid team of Diane Wells and Cathy Clucas. Both are experts in the field and Diane really been with the OBD longer than it has even existed. (She had worked on telecom for the state for a long time.)

They have recently been joined by Angie Dickison, formerly of the Wisconsin broadband office and formerly formerly a Blandin Broadband Community leader.

Final note from the OBD, a reminder about the upcoming grant deadlines – The first of two grant rounds to distribute those funds has opened and the applications are due September 13th.

Office of Broadband Development Program Call for Border to Border Broadband Grant Applications

I wish I had a drum roll. Good luck to everyone!

The Office of Broadband Development (OBD) unit is soliciting applications for the Border to Border Broadband grant funding of broadband projects.

Submission Deadlines and Requirements

The deadline for the applications is 4 p.m., on Friday, September 13.

Application proposals must be mailed or delivered to:
Office of Broadband Development MN Department of Employment and Economic Development
First National Bank Building
332 Minnesota Street – Suite E200
St. Paul, MN 55101-1351

Application submittals must include three full sets of paper copies, and one additional electronic set in Microsoft Word format on a USB drive. They must be received by the deadline to be considered for funding.

Contact Information

For questions regarding this application process, please contact OBD Staff at 651-259-7610 or deed.broadband@state.mn.us

MN Broadband County Maps: Data, Ranking and comparing for 25/3 speeds

The Office of Broadband Development maps and county data are out! I am looking a percentage covered at various speeds, comparing 100/20 rates and ranking and (here) comparing county speeds and ranking for 25/3 speeds. I’m doing this in three posts because the I think the data is valuable but best in small bites.

The MN State broadband speed goals are 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up by 2002 and 100 Mbps down and 20 Mbps by 2026. The 2022 goal ought to be a benchmark toward the 2026 goals, but having looked at these number for a few years now I can see that while some counties take that to heart, others are in danger of plateauing with 25/3.

I look at this info as a call to help for two groups of counties. First there are the counties that rank near the bottom. They need to expand and upgrade broadband. Second, are the counties that have been hovering around the same percent covered (where that’s not 99+ percent) and are losing ground in the ranking. The exception would be if those counties are seeing a steep growth in the 100/20 percentage and ranking – which might indicate a slower but more future-forward plan.

For the most part the rankings were similar from 2018 to 2019. A few folks moved up or down a few places – based as much as growth round them as lack/burst of local growth. However, it’s probably worth looking at how your county stands compared to last year and why. Are you on the right trajectory to meet the 2022 and 2026 goals?

The one outlier was Brown County. They went from 96 percentage covered in 2018 to 84 percent coverage in 2019. It sounds like that is due to a provider supplying the Office of Broadband with more granular data that resulted in better data and reduced coverage. Few counties saw the decrease in coverage for the others that did, the reason is probably similar but in what I’d call a margin of error.

The best way to use this data is to download the spreadsheet. I am going to post an abridged version below (with fewer columns).

County Percentage Households Served 2019 Ranking 2019 Percentage Households Served 2018 Ranking 2018 Change in Rank
Aitkin 60.17 82 45.68 85 -3
Anoka 98.80 10 98.87 10 0
Becker 91.36 32 88.94 31 1
Beltrami 99.41 7 99.40 6 1
Benton 91.47 31 87.49 35 -4
Big Stone 99.58 6 98.91 9 -3
Blue Earth 78.33 61 77.95 49 -12
Brown 83.66 48 96.31 15 -33
Carlton 71.71 74 67.29 72 -2
Carver 92.14 28 89.81 27 -1
Cass 88.02 37 77.58 50 13
Chippewa 83.23 49 72.33 61 12
Chisago 83.85 47 73.27 59 12
Clay 95.82 18 95.45 17 -1
Clearwater 99.74 4 99.58 5 1
Cook 94.50 20 94.50 18 -2
Cottonwood 74.17 68 67.89 70 2
Crow Wing 92.84 26 92.29 25 -1
Dakota 98.46 11 97.54 12 1
Dodge 82.78 50 76.40 54 4
Douglas 88.25 36 82.96 43 7
Faribault 78.31 62 78.17 48 -14
Fillmore 57.89 85 45.02 86 1
Freeborn 87.92 39 84.31 39 0
Goodhue 79.44 59 77.10 52 -7
Grant 87.85 40 87.85 33 -7
Hennepin 99.39 8 99.18 8 0
Houston 72.94 71 71.29 65 -6
Hubbard 97.97 14 95.65 16 2
Isanti 73.50 70 73.67 57 -13
Itasca 93.12 22 86.15 38 16
Jackson 70.42 76 68.83 68 -8
Kanabec 66.05 79 67.07 73 -6
Kandiyohi 86.23 42 77.20 51 9
Kittson 74.99 67 71.38 64 -3
Koochiching 81.22 53 73.50 58 5
Lac qui Parle 97.35 15 97.35 13 -2
Lake 93.86 21 94.30 20 -1
Lake of the Woods 57.42 86 50.47 83 -3
Le Sueur 79.91 58 72.68 60 2
Lincoln 59.70 83 53.44 80 -3
Lyon 85.80 44 80.71 44 0
Mahnomen 89.87 34 76.93 53 19
Marshall 56.11 87 50.84 82 -5
Martin 80.29 57 56.38 78 21
McLeod 81.01 55 83.53 41 -14
Meeker 71.72 73 71.45 63 -10
Mille Lacs 83.86 46 62.00 76 30
Morrison 76.00 65 71.08 66 1
Mower 85.22 45 78.47 47 2
Murray 65.37 80 51.00 81 1
Nicollet 82.68 51 83.91 40 -11
Nobles 80.89 56 79.24 46 -10
Norman 98.45 12 98.02 11 -1
Olmsted 94.63 19 93.70 21 2
Otter Tail 92.93 25 89.56 28 3
Pennington 97.21 16 91.78 26 10
Pine 58.28 84 42.84 87 3
Pipestone 81.10 54 79.73 45 -9
Polk 93.11 23 93.00 23 0
Pope 76.99 64 61.27 77 13
Ramsey 99.86 3 99.84 3 0
Red Lake 99.99 1 99.99 1 0
Redwood 70.94 75 72.07 62 -13
Renville 61.90 81 55.06 79 -2
Rice 92.46 27 93.20 22 -5
Rock 99.93 2 99.93 2 0
Roseau 75.88 66 67.30 71 -5
Scott 96.43 17 94.50 19 2
Sherburne 91.63 30 89.23 29 -1
Sibley 73.59 69 63.47 75 6
St. Louis 86.23 43 83.47 42 -1
Stearns 91.72 29 88.96 30 1
Steele 88.44 35 87.79 34 -1
Stevens 99.22 9 99.22 7 -2
Swift 99.64 5 99.64 4 -1
Todd 71.91 72 67.96 69 -3
Traverse 67.25 78 66.14 74 -4
Wabasha 77.61 63 74.35 56 -7
Wadena 93.01 24 92.37 24 0
Waseca 82.19 52 75.30 55 3
Washington 98.44 13 97.21 14 1
Watonwan 79.21 60 70.70 67 7
Wilkin 88.01 38 86.53 36 -2
Winona 86.58 41 86.48 37 -4
Wright 91.07 33 87.89 32 -1
Yellow Medicine 68.31 77 46.91 84 7

The new MN Broadband County Maps are out!!

I always feel a little bit like The Jerk when the phone books come out when the Office of Broadband Development publishes the updated county broadband maps and info. And this week I’m jumping up and down.

I am going to do three separate posts on the data because I think it’s easier to take them on in smaller bites. This post I want to share the fact that the info is there. You can access the maps, data or a spreadsheet that include the following info for each county:

  • Household density
  • Number of households
  • Percent of households with wireline access to 25/3
  • Percent of households with wireline access to 100/20
  • Percent of households with wireline access to Gig up and down

And of course you can see a map of coverage in your county.

I’ll paste an abridged portion of the table – and I’ll focus on the Gig access. I’m working on posts that focus on 25/3 and 100/20 that will rank access and compare speeds and ranking to 2018. I will use this data to do the annual County Profiles – but with 87 counties that will take a while. (Download full spreadsheet for best access to data; I know the layout may be wonky here.)

Top 10 Counties for Gig Access

County ≥ 1 Gbps Download/1 Gbps Upload Speeds Ranking
Beltrami 98.78 1
Stevens 96.74 2
Cook 94.50 3
Lake 93.23 4
Clearwater 89.30 5
Red Lake 83.17 6
Winona 75.12 7
Kittson 74.99 8
Lac qui Parle 74.61 9
Wilkin 72.21 10

Bottom 10 Counties

County ≥ 1 Gbps Download/1 Gbps Upload Speeds Ranking
Faribault 0.09 78
Benton 0.00 79
Carlton 0.00 80
Kanabec 0.00 81
Kandiyohi 0.00 82
Martin 0.00 83
Mille Lacs 0.00 84
Pine 0.00 85
Redwood 0.00 86
Yellow Medicine 0.00 87

Rep Marquardt recognizes good work of Office of Broadband Development

Rep. Paul Marquart of Dilworth, who chairs the House Taxes Committee recognizes the positive impact of the MN Office of Broadband Development when talking about recent $40 million for grants from Legislators. As posted in DL-Online

The Legislature also approved $40 million for rural broadband expansion. “The Minnesota Broadband Office has really done a good job,” working with broadband providers with a minimum of red tape, Marquart said.

Special Sessions ends: $40 million to broadband

The Daily Session reports…

It took a grueling special session that stretched past sunrise, but Minnesota lawmakers completed their work early Saturday morning on passing a new two-year state budget.

Senator Westrom reports via Twitter

Today, the MN Senate unanimously passed the bipartisan agriculture, rural development, & housing budget. Highlights: $40M rural broadband expansion, value-added ag., including dairy and soybean programs, farmer mental health, and affordable manufactured workforce housing.

The MN Senate Republican Caucus reports…

Co-authored by Sen. Draheim, MN Senate passes bipartisan agriculture, rural broadband, and housing budget

and

Senator Goggin, Senate Republicans prioritize rural broadband, value-added agriculture, and affordable workforce housing in final agriculture budget bill

 

MN Revisor’s Report still shows $40 million for broadband

The Revisor’s report is out for the Conference Committee on SF2226 – the bill that includes broadband funding and it looks like it stood steady at $40 million for grants ($20 million per year) and $250,000 per year for the Office of Broadband Development. The Conference Committee met yesterday. I am still waiting for the audio archive. I will include it when I get it. If there’s anything strange or interesting I’ll create a new post.

ARTICLE 7
BROADBAND DEVELOPMENT
Section 1. BROADBAND DEVELOPMENT APPROPRIATIONS.
The sums shown in the columns marked “Appropriations” are appropriated to the agencies and for the purposes specified in this article. The appropriations are from the general fund, or another named fund, and are available for the fiscal years indicated for each purpose.
The figures “2020” and “2021” used in this article mean that the appropriations listed under them are available for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020, or June 30, 2021, respectively.
“The first year” is fiscal year 2020. “The second year” is fiscal year 2021. “The biennium” is fiscal years 2020 and 2021.

APPROPRIATIONS – Available for the Year Ending in June 30
2020 = $20,250,000
2021 = $20,250,000

Sec. 2. DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT
AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

(a) $250,000 each year is for the Broadband Development Office.
(b) $20,000,000 in fiscal year 2020 and $20,000,000 in fiscal year 2021 are appropriated from the general fund to the commissioner of employment and economic
development for deposit in the border-to-border broadband fund account under Minnesota Statutes, section 116J.396.
The appropriation is onetime and must be used for grants and the purposes specified under Minnesota Statutes, section 116J.395.”