Scott County Broadband Profile: 96 percent access to 25/3 supported by county-built 10Gig backbone

In 201scott4, more than 99 percent of Scott County had access to broadband. (Broadband was defined with lower speeds back then.) Today 96 percent of the county has access to broadband speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up) and 88 percent has access to the 2026 speed goals of 100/20.

Scott County is well covered. In 2007, they started with a 94-mile optic ring. They told their story of saving several years ago at a Broadband Task Force Meeting

Scott County built a backbone with 146 strands of fiber (10Gbit). The county owns conduit but has contracts to share with public and private entities. This solves a lot of internal communications issues but they need to get out to the Internet. So they lease fiber with McCloud and connection to commercial providers through that and the 511 building (big telecom hub).

They ended up developing more than they wanted to build because providers were not as interested in helping them build a connection that might reach their potential clients. Also it ended up being cheaper to build.

Network is fully operations to all schools, libraries, government buildings in the County. They attracted the MNET. The ROI was immediate due to reduced charges to the County. The private providers are running it. For example, the schools were paying $58 per Mbit per student now they pay $6.83 per Mbit per student.

And outlined the benefits at an NTIA meeting years later

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

They have been part of the Metro County Fiber Interconnect – counties making concerted efforts to connect to each other.

Scott County is in line to receive $315,273 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 680 locations. CAF 2 recipients are only required to upgrade to 10/1 access. Many may choose to upgrade to better speeds but there are no requirements.

Numbers:

The Office of Broadband Development released data on broadband covered in fall of 2016, based on information gathered in July 2016. Here’s how they ranked:

  • Percentage served with 25/3 or better: 96.10
  • Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 88.38

ranking-roseau-to-yellow-medicineMississippi State University Extension have come up with a ranking system to gauge the digital divide index (DDI) by county. (The lower the number the better – the state average is 40.66.) Here’s how they ranked:

DDI score of 11.78 out of 100.

More info:

  • Find more articles on broadband in Scott County (http://tinyurl.com/gt4afcy)                            

§  There is a matrix of Minnesota broadband adoption projects.

§  Districts: CD 2
Senate: 20, 55, 56
House: 20A, 55A, 55B, 56A

I plan to profile each county in Minnesota – tracking broadband access, digital divide and annotated links to news of what’s happening with broadband in the county. I’m keeping it high level because there are 87 counties!

St Louis County Broadband Profile: 82 percent have access to 25/3 but county of haves and have-nots

In 2014, st-louis80 percent of St Louis County had access to broadband. (Broadband was defined with lower speeds back then.) Today 82 percent of the county has access to broadband speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up) and 39 percent has access to the 2026 speed goals of 100/20.

Northeast Minnesota in many ways the land of haves and have-nots. ARRA funding brought fiber to St Louis County’s neighbor Cook County. And ARRA brought middle mile coverage to the Northeast Service Cooperative. But service is not available everywhere.

Here is info on the haves

A Border to Border grant in 2015…

Northeast Service Cooperative (NESC) – Frontier Communications Corp., Border to Border Phase I. Awarded $1.96 million for their Phase I project that extends fiber from NESC’s middle mile network to 877 unserved end users and to serving nodes. The total project costs are $4.35 million; the remaining $2.39 million (55 percent local match) will be provided by IRRRB ($1.5 million), Frontier ($750,000) and NESC ($135,000).The proposed project is in scattered locations in St. Louis County, including areas in and around Crane Lake, Alborn, Meadowlands, Brookston, Forbes, Kelsey, Soudan, Kabetogama, Ely and Tower.

Another State grant in 2015

Mediacom, Pintar Road. Awarded $137,848 to provide broadband services to 122 unserved homes and businesses on the southwest edge of the city limits of Hibbing. The full cost of this project is $275,697; the remaining $137,849 in matching funds (50 percent) will be provided by a private investment made by Mediacom.

A Border to Border grant in 2017…

Residents in portions of Fayal Township can look forward to gaining robust broadband service with speeds of up to 200 megabits-per-second (Mbps) – twice as fast as Minnesota’s 2026 state speed goal….

The new network will be built by the summer of 2018, giving homes and businesses access to the same high-speed internet and advanced digital video services Mediacom delivers to residents in Hibbing, Virginia, and 12 other St. Louis County communities or townships.

The state broadband grant of $263,345 accounts for 39-percent of the project costs, and Mediacom will provide the remaining investment of $412,000. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who receive state grants are required to deliver service with speeds that will reach Minnesota’s 2026 state speed goal of 100 Mbps download by 20 Mbps upload.

The have-nots…

Cloquet Valley Internet Initiative has been working for better broadband in their area for a few years. They had a feasibility study done in 2013. They have and some success getting fixed wireless in the area. But they remain in the have-nots category. They are unsure what CAF 2 funding could mean to them. And local policymakers are not entirely sold on the need for government leadership in broadband expansion.

St Louis County is in line to receive $7,079,246 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 16,229 locations. CAF 2 recipients are only required to upgrade to 10/1 access. Many may choose to upgrade to better speeds but there are no requirements.

Numbers:

The Office of Broadband Development released data on broadband covered in fall of 2016, based on information gathered in July 2016. Here’s how they ranked:

  • Percentage served with 25/3 or better: 82.72
  • Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 38.78

ranking-roseau-to-yellow-medicine

Mississippi State University Extension have come up with a ranking system to gauge the digital divide index (DDI) by county. (The lower the number the better – the state average is 40.66.) Here’s how they ranked:

DDI score of 38.98 out of 100.

More info:

I plan to profile each county in Minnesota – tracking broadband access, digital divide and annotated links to news of what’s happening with broadband in the county. I’m keeping it high level because there are 87 counties!

Roseau County Broadband Profile: 62 percent covered today with grant support

In 2014, roseau46 percent of Roseau County had access to broadband. (Broadband was defined with lower speeds back then.) Today 62 percent of the county has access to broadband speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up) and 0 percent has access to the 2026 speed goals of 100/20. I have to be suspect of zero access to 100/20 since is sounds like a part of an ARRA project in their area was for FTTH but perhaps none of those FTTH locations were in Roseau County. Although the they have also been in line for some FTTH through State supported projects.

There have been incremental upgrades in Roseau County. They were part of a ARRA grant

Wikstrom Telephone Company, Incorporated
$7,398,600
This $7.4 million grant to Wikstrom Telephone Company, Inc. will deploy 414 miles of new cables and electronics for GPON fiber to the home in 6 communities of Kittson, Marshall and Roseau County for Broadband Services over 100 megabits. Electronic enhancements will be made to existing DSL customers to increase Broadband speeds up to 48mbs, along with 74 miles of additional fiber to the node, and a 150mb microwave upgrade for service to the NW Angle. Wikstrom Telephone’s project stands to benefit approximately 12,000 people, 1,500 businesses, and 83 other community institutions. In addition to the jobs this project will create upfront, it will help drive economic development and create jobs for decades to come.

In 2015, they received a Border to Border broadband grant via Sjoberg cable…

Sjoberg Cable, Broadband Grant Proposal. Awarded $261,575 to provide broadband services to 107 unserved and 49 underserved locations using fiber-to- the-premise technology, predominantly in extremely rural and agricultural areas. The project would build-out in five areas in Roseau County near Roseau, Warroad and Salol. The total project costs are $523,150; the remaining $261,575 (50 percent local match) will be provided by Sjoberg’s Inc.

And were part of a State project through Wikstrom in 2015 as well…

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.

Unfortunately, either that work was not yet completed in July 2016 (when last measured) or the upgrade wasn’t enough to set them up for the 2026 speed goals.

Roseau County is in line to receive $847,823 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 1648 locations. CAF 2 recipients are only required to upgrade to 10/1 access. Many may choose to upgrade to better speeds but there are no requirements.

Numbers:

The Office of Broadband Development released data on broadband covered in fall of 2016, based on information gathered in July 2016. Here’s how they ranked:

  • Percentage served with 25/3 or better: 62.12
  • Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 0

ranking-roseau-to-yellow-medicine

Mississippi State University Extension have come up with a ranking system to gauge the digital divide index (DDI) by county. (The lower the number the better – the state average is 40.66.) Here’s how they ranked:

DDI score of 49.73 out of 100.

More info:

I plan to profile each county in Minnesota – tracking broadband access, digital divide and annotated links to news of what’s happening with broadband in the county. I’m keeping it high level because there are 87 counties!

Rock County Broadband Profile: 65+ percent coverage for 25/3 and 100/20 access

In 2014, rock66 percent of Rock County had access to broadband. (Broadband was defined with lower speeds back then.) Today 68 percent of the county has access to broadband speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up) and 66 percent has access to the 2026 speed goals of 100/20.

Rock County is a haves and have-nots community. Folks who have broadband have good broadband and the rest have nothing. They need to find a way to extend the good service they have, which is often easier said than done.

They did get a Border to Border state grant in 2015…

Rock County Broadband Alliance (RCBA), FTTP project. Awarded $5 million to deploy fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) service for approximately 1,085 underserved and 265 unserved locations in Rock County. The total project costs are $12.85 million; the remaining $7.85 million (61 percent local match) will be provided by Alliance Communications Cooperative as an equity infusion to RCBA, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Alliance. Locations include 1,261 households and farms, approximately 68 businesses and 21 anchor institutions in the Jasper, Beaver Creek and Hardwick town and rural areas surrounding Luverne.

Community and Economic Development Impact: The project will bring FTTP service to all remaining unserved and underserved locations in Rock County, bringing to 93 percent coverage all businesses and households in the county. Education, energy efficiency, public safety and health care will improve, stimulating new jobs and economic growth. In particular in Rock County, access to health care is becoming more reliant on broadband infrastructure for both patients and health care professionals. For example, in remote rural locations, physicians who are on-call from their homes would be able to log into a patient’s chart and respond to a nurse’s request or see follow-up testing. Home monitoring capabilities help patients of all ages remain in their homes with high quality care, reducing health care costs and ensuring stronger community quality of life. Full county broadband coverage will provide significantly more reliable and faster communications for first responders and public safety officials.

They ran into some troubles with prevailing wage issues.

Rock County is in line to receive $3,967in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 9 locations. CAF 2 recipients are only required to upgrade to 10/1 access. Many may choose to upgrade to better speeds but there are no requirements.

Numbers:

The Office of Broadband Development released data on broadband covered in fall of 2016, based on information gathered in July 2016. Here’s how they ranked:

  • Percentage served with 25/3 or better: 68.17
  • Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 66.32

ranking-mower-to-rock

Mississippi State University Extension have come up with a ranking system to gauge the digital divide index (DDI) by county. (The lower the number the better – the state average is 40.66.) Here’s how they ranked:

DDI score of 40.63 out of 100.

More info:

I plan to profile each county in Minnesota – tracking broadband access, digital divide and annotated links to news of what’s happening with broadband in the county. I’m keeping it high level because there are 87 counties!

Rice County Broadband Profile: Well served today (98 percent) but only half (49 percent) meet 2026 goals

riceIn 2014, 98 percent of Rice County had access to broadband. (Broadband was defined with lower speeds back then.) Today 98 percent of the county has access to broadband speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up) and 49 percent has access to the 2026 speed goals of 100/20.

Looking at articles and editorials in the local paper, some folks in Rice County seem aware of the need to look to higher speeds. Representative Brian Daniels, however, seems to think that CAF 2 funding will build sufficient broadband. The county is well served by today’s standards but less than half have speeds that meet the 2026 goal.

Rice County is in line to receive $1,293,094 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 3073 locations. CAF 2 recipients are only required to upgrade to 10/1 access. Many may choose to upgrade to better speeds but there are no requirements.

Numbers:

The Office of Broadband Development released data on broadband covered in fall of 2016, based on information gathered in July 2016. Here’s how they ranked:

  • Percentage served with 25/3 or better: 97.93
  • Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 48.85

ranking-mower-to-rock

Mississippi State University Extension have come up with a ranking system to gauge the digital divide index (DDI) by county. (The lower the number the better – the state average is 40.66.) Here’s how they ranked:

DDI score of 26.51 out of 100.

More info:

I plan to profile each county in Minnesota – tracking broadband access, digital divide and annotated links to news of what’s happening with broadband in the county. I’m keeping it high level because there are 87 counties!

Blue Cross Blue Shield Grant for $100,000

It’s not necessarily for broadband – but certainly broadband adoption could be a piece of any plan submitted to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of MN Foundation

The Blue Cross Foundation announces a funding opportunity of up to a total of $1M to further health equity in communities across Minnesota. Healthy Communities: Health Equity in Action provides grants up to $100,000 per year each, and applicants can apply for one- or two-year grants. With this funding opportunity, we invite eligible applicants to propose projects that address at least one of the following social or economic determinants of health:

  • Community Safety – systems change that contributes to violence reduction.
  • Education – systems change that contributes to quality care and education for children ages birth through age 5.
  • Employment – systems change that contributes to living wage jobs, and workplace policies supporting health and safety.
  • Family and Social Support – systems change that contributes to building social capital and increasing civic engagement that builds upon community knowledge, skills, and wisdom.
  • Income – systems change that contributes to housing stability and affordability, wealth or asset building.

Renville County Broadband Profile: hard work and a new cooperative change everything

renvilleIn 2014, 58 percent of Renville County had access to broadband. (Broadband was defined with lower speeds back then.) Today 59 percent of the county has access to broadband speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up) and 50 percent have access to the 2026 speed goals of 100/20.

Renville County and Sibley County have been working on broadband for many years. The counties and town tried working collectively with a Joint Powers agreement on getting broadband to their communities – fiber to the farm they said because they wanted to include areas outside the towns despite the high cost. They had trouble reaching consensus with all communities – specifically Sibley County left the project. That opened the door to a new solution – a cooperative. Since that time they have been working on that solution and it has been working. Here’s a brief outline of the coop from a Daily Yonder article

A unique partnership between RS Fiber and 10 cities is proving successful in Minnesota, which also has restrictions on public networks. The cities sold a General Obligation bond that they used to underwrite a loan to RS Fiber. The co-op leveraged the loan to raise more investment money.

RS Fiber retained Hiawatha Broadband Communications, a local ISP, to oversee all network buildout, operations and marketing. A fiber backbone will connect the 10 towns. During the three years it will take to complete the buildout, the co-op will provide 25-megabit symmetrical wireless and telephone services to the cities. In 2018 RS Fiber will ask the cities to pass another bond to finance the remaining buildout to take in surrounding farmlands. In total the entire network will cover over 600 miles and 2500 farm sites.

They have received positive attention for their work as a coop and most importantly a new tenant – a new Medical School is opening in Gaylord, which is Sibley County but because these counties have worked in tandem. I’m going to mention it here too!

Renville County is going to get some help with a Border to Border grant

In Renville County, Hiawatha Broadband Communications & RS Fiber was awarded $807,966.
This project will serve 193 unserved households, 99 unserved businesses and three community anchor institutions in portions of Preston Lake, Boon Lake, Brookfield, Osceola, Kingman, Winfield, Crooks, Erickson, Sac-red Heart (North), Emmet, Flora, Henry-ville, Norfolk, Birch Cooley, Camp and Cairo townships in Renville County.
Hiawatha Broadband Communications and RS Fiber will provide improved services that officials hope will stimulate business and population growth.
The total eligible project cost is $2.07 million, with a $1.26 million local match.

As they received State help in 2015 as well…

-S Fiber Cooperative, FTTH Project. Awarded $1 million to bring fiber-to-the –home (FTTH) service to 62 unserved and 536 underserved locations in Sibley and Renville counties. Total project costs are $3.32 million; the remaining $2.32 million (70 percent local match) will be provided by a line of credit that R-S Fiber Telcom has committed and partner equity. This project is part of a larger cooperative project estimated at $38.46 million that will upgrade broadband services to several thousand locations in the region. Hiawatha Broadband Communications will provide operational capacity.

Community and Economic Development Impact: In 2013, Sibley County was added to the Metropolitan Statistical Area of the Twin Cities. Twin Cities metro regional economic development strategy indicates that access to high-speed fiber networks is a critical component that companies consider when deciding whether to relocate to an area.

Renville County is in line to receive $1,493,456 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 1702 locations. CAF 2 recipients are only required to upgrade to 10/1 access. Many may choose to upgrade to better speeds but there are no requirements.

Numbers:

The Office of Broadband Development released data on broadband covered in fall of 2016, based on information gathered in July 2016. Here’s how they ranked:

  • Percentage served with 25/3 or better: 59.27
  • Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 50.43

ranking-mower-to-rock

Mississippi State University Extension have come up with a ranking system to gauge the digital divide index (DDI) by county. (The lower the number the better – the state average is 40.66.) Here’s how they ranked:

DDI score of 34.48 out of 100.

More info:

I plan to profile each county in Minnesota – tracking broadband access, digital divide and annotated links to news of what’s happening with broadband in the county. I’m keeping it high level because there are 87 counties!