Minnesota Broadband County Profiles – from Aitkin to Yellow Medicine

For the past few weeks I have been posting broadband profiles of each county – all 87 of them! I used data from the Office of Broadband Development, based on surveys from July 2016, tracking each counties access to broadband at speeds of 25 Mbps down and 3 up (25/3), which is the 2022 Minnesota state speed goal and access to 100/20, which is the 2026 goal.

It’s nice to have a history of how a county has been doing and where they are heading. We’re seen some counties (Clearwater) go from least served list of 2010 to more than 99 percent coverage today and 73 percent with access to 100/20. And unfortunately we’ve seen some go the other way too – as the definition of broadband has changed their ranking and percentage of coverage has gone down. These areas need to focus on unserved and underserved areas. In some ways those are the communities I worry about most, the places where it feels like they’re OK today but they aren’t going to be tomorrow. They are like dieters who have hit their goal wait. Maintaining takes work too. Then there are the areas that are unserved – the toughest to reach, the lowest population density, often with providers who need to make business case more aggressive that an area can support to upgrade their connection. Today those folks know they need help.

Hopefully folks will find these useful. Thanks to folks who have taken the time to send me corrections and updates. Sheer plod makes plough – but doesn’t always allow for as much proofing as I’d like.

Here are links to each county:

Yellow Medicine County Broadband Profile: 20 percent access to 25/3 and 19 percent at 100/20 – grants should help

In 2014yellow-medicine26 percent of Yellow Medicine 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 29 percent has access to the 2026 speed goals of 100/20.

In 2017, Yellow Medicine is partnering with six counties (Lincoln, Murray, Pipestone, Lyon, Yellow Medicine and Chippewa) to do a regional broadband study to determine the feasibility of bringing broadband service to unserved rural areas in the six counties. They have also been partnered with the Upper Minnesota Valley RDC to get grants.

And Yellow Medicine just received a Border to Border broadband grant

Midco, Canby to Marshall Middle Mile and Last Mile in Porter-Taunton-Minneota-Ghent – $623,000. This project will serve 1,029 unserved households, 29 unserved businesses and 11 unserved community institutions in the communities of Porter, Taunton, Minneota, Ghent and Canby in Yellow Medicine and Lyon counties. Midco will improve service levels for 100 percent of the homes and businesses in those areas. The total eligible project costs are $1.6 million, with a $976,000 local match.

The area was also part of a project that received an award in 2015…

MVTV Wireless was awarded $808,080 to upgrade backhaul capacity between site locations within 20 southwestern Minnesota counties, including Chippewa, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Meeker, Redwood, Renville, Swift and Yellow Medicine.

Yellow Medicine County is also in line to receive $977,738 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 1250 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: 20.42
  • Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 19.28

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 55.89 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!

Wright County Broadband Profile: 82 percent access to 25/3 and 29 percent at 100/20

In 2014, wright93 percent of Wright 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 29 percent has access to the 2026 speed goals of 100/20.

Wright County is home to Monticello, one of the famous of infamous municipal broadband networks out there. Monticello built their own fiber network – but in process the incumbent also built a fiber network and even sued the city. The network was built but there has been a financial toll on the project. It’s up and running and the city is well served. (The Institute for Local Self Reliance estimates the aggregate savings to the community at about $10 million in their 2014 report, All Hands on Deck.)

But with 29 percent coverage at 206 broadband goal speeds, it looks like the networks have not extended beyond the city much. It would be nice to see the fiber expand.

Wright County is in line to receive $2,006,869 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 5488 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: 7
  • Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 26

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 16.82 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!

Winona County Broadband Profile: 81 percent access to 25/3 and 100/20 and grants to help upgrade

In 2014, winona90 percent of Winona 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 81 percent has access to the 2026 speed goals of 100/20.

Winona is doing well and they got a recent Border to Border broadband grant to help them do even better…

the county will get $416,000 to continue broadband expansion into areas of Wilson, Homer, Richmond, Pleasant Hill and Wiscoy townships.

The total project cost is estimated to be $868,000, with a match by HBC covering the rest.

The project is expected to reach 111 households, 112 unserved businesses, and two community institutions currently unserved or underserved.

Winona County administrator Ken Fritz said the county would like to continue using the programs if the state continues providing grants.

They had received funding in the past as well…

Last year the county was awarded $314,500 to a project to expand broadband into the Witoka and Wilson areas, with HBC covering the rest of the near $1 million project cost. That project started in spring 2016 and affected an estimated 256 households, 117 businesses, 90 farms, nine commercial and industrial businesses, 18 home-based businesses, a school and other public institutions.

In 2015 the county also received $247,000 for broadband expansion in Elba and Norton townships, including Whitewater State Park. The overall project is estimated to cost nearly $775,000. That project will provide improved internet to an estimated 135 households, 70 businesses, Whitewater State Park, Whitewater Wildlife Management Area, Crystal Springs Fish Hatchery, a school and other public institutions.

Winona has been an involved community. They were a Minnesota Intelligent Rural Community (Blandin MIRC) community where among other projects they worked with Project FINE to provide digital inclusion training in multiple languages. Last summer (2016), Senator Franken’s team held listening session in the area to discuss broadband.

Winona County is also in line to receive $245,212 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 475 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: 82.13
  • Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 81.17

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 41.93 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!

Wilkin County Broadband Profile: 81 percent access to 25/3 and 100/20

wilkinIn 2010, Wilkin County was listed by the FCC as one of the least served counties in Minnesota. In 2014, 67 percent of Watonwan County had access to broadband. (Broadband was defined with lower speeds back then.) Today 81 percent of the county has access to broadband speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up) and 81 percent has access to the 2026 speed goals of 100/20.

In 2011, MN2020 created a video on the importance of broadband in Wilkin County. The same video could be made in other communities today.

In seven years they have gone from one of the worst to number 20 for 2026 goals. They just need to find a way to extend the existing network(s). There are several providers in the area who provide service at 2026 goal speeds: Midcontinent, Red River Communications, Runestone Telephone, 702 Communications, and Wolvertone Telephone.

Wilkin County is also in line to receive $47,246 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 71 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: 80.84
  • Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 80.84

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 39.47 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!

Watonwan County Broadband Profile: 65 access to 25/3 and 64 to 100/20 – grants will help upgrades

In 2014, 65watonwan percent of Watonwan County had access to broadband. (Broadband was defined with lower speeds back then.) Today 65 percent of the county has access to broadband speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up) and 64 percent has access to the 2026 speed goals of 100/20.

The broadband available in Watonwan is good broadband – but it’s not ubiquitous. The good news is that a recent Border to Border grant should help…

New Ulm Telecom Inc., Hanska – $200,397. This project will serve 14 unserved households and 32 unserved businesses in Lake Hanska Township in Brown County and Riverdale Township in Watonwan County. New Ulm Telephone will improve service levels in an area populated with farms and home-based businesses. The total eligible project cost is $445,326, with a $244,929 local match.

It’s not a huge project but might build a momentum.

They were also part of a larger project in 2015 when MVTV Wireless got a grant to improve access for a number of counties…

MVTV Wireless Middle Mile, Southwestern Minnesota, $808,080
This project will improve services to 6,000 households and businesses that are MVTV customers in 20 southwestern Minnesota counties, with leverage possibilities for another 29,000 customers. The counties are Blue Earth, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac Qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, Meeker, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Pipestone, Rock, Redwood, Renville, Sibley, Swift, Watonwan and Yellow Medicine. Total project costs are $1.85 million. MVTV will cover the remaining $1.04 million (56 percent local match).

Community and Economic Development Impact: The project will improve broadband access and speeds for more than 3,000 farm-related businesses and 6,000 rural residents across nearly 30,000 square miles.

Watonwan County is also in line to receive $679,539 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 821 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: 65.26
  • Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 64.28

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 49.87 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!

Washington County Broadband Profile: 96 access to 25/3 and 64 to 100/20

In 2014, washingtonmore than 99 percent of Washington 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 94 percent has access to the 2026 speed goals of 100/20.

Washington County is in good shape for broadband. The only issue is that they are slipping in access, but the slip is minimal and easy to correct as long as an effort is made. They are part of the Seven-Metro Counties and there are four providers that offer broadband at the speed of the 2026 speed goal: CenturyLink, Comcast HBC and Midcontinent. They have been part of the Metro County Fiber Interconnect discussion – counties making concerted efforts to connect to each other.

Washington County is in line to receive $308,683 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 1374 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: 96.52
  • Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 94.57

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 14.06 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!

Waseca County Broadband Profile: 99 percent access to 25/3 and 100/20!

In 2014, waseca99 percent of Waseca County had access to broadband. (Broadband was defined with lower speeds back then.) Today 99 percent of the county has access to broadband speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up) and 99 percent has access to the 2026 speed goals of 100/20.

Waseca is well covered for broadband. There are three providers that offer broadband at speeds of the 2026 goal (100/20): West Central Telephone, Jaguar and Radio Link.

Waseca County is in line to receive $1,429,661 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 2271 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: 98.75
  • Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 98.75

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 30.75 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!

Wadena County Broadband Profile: 88 percent access to 25/3; 46 percent at 100/20 state grant will help

In 2014, wadena60 percent of Wadena County had access to broadband. (Broadband was defined with lower speeds back then.) Today 88 percent of the county has access to broadband speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up) and 46 percent has access to the 2026 speed goals of 100/20.

There has been steady improvement and improvement should continue with a recent Border to Border broadband grant

A grant of $718,850 was awarded to the West Central Telephone Association in Wadena. The broadband expansion project will provide access for 174 unserved homes and 13 unserved businesses in Bluffton and Blowers townships in Otter Tail County and portions of Rockwood, Leaf River, North Germany and Wing River townships in Wadena County.

The total eligible project is $1.5 million, with a $778,755 local match.

“Receiving these grants for increased broadband access is essential for our area’s future prosperity,” said state Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria. “Greater access to broadband provides for better economic opportunities for our businesses and our workers, as well as outlets for students to do additional learning.”

Wadena was involved as a Blandin Get Broadband community, which is a precursor of sorts to the Blandin Broadband Communities. It helped them focus on increased broadband use with digital inclusion training and connected the local hospital to a satellite facility.

Wadena County is in line to receive $70,122 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 141 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: 88.23
  • Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 46.69

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 43.92 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!

Wabasha County Broadband Profile: 45 percent access to 25/3 but getting a broadband grant

In 2014,wabasha 76 percent of Wabasha County had access to broadband. (Broadband was defined with lower speeds back then.) Today 84 percent of the county has access to broadband speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up) and 62 percent has access to the 2026 speed goals of 100/20.

So Wabasha is gaining on the broadband goals. And they will get some help from a recent Border to Border broadband grant

New Ulm Telecom Inc., Mazeppa – $317,761. This project will serve 87 unserved households, 11 unserved businesses and 66 underserved households in Mazeppa Township in Wabasha County. New Ulm Telecom will improve services that will benefit farms, home-based businesses, telecommuters, a USDA office, Ag Partners, Mazeppa school system, and several banking institutions and insurance companies. The total eligible project cost is $706,135, with a $388,374 local match.

Wabasha County is in line to receive $1,042,497 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 1638 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: 83.59
  • Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 61.70

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 34.78 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!

Traverse County Broadband Profile: 45 percent access to 25/3 and 100/20

In 2014, traversemore than 65 percent of Traverse County had access to broadband. (Broadband was defined with lower speeds back then.) Today 45 percent of the county has access to broadband speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up) and 45 percent has access to the 2026 speed goals of 100/20.

Traverse County is clear example of a have/have-not community. Folks either have good broadband or they have nothing. There are four providers in the area that offer access at speeds of 100/20 – Federated Telephone, Mediacom, Red River Communications and Runestone Telephone. It would be nice to find a way for them to extend their networks to the unserved areas.

Traverse County is in line to receive $293,728 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 352 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: 45.37
  • Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 45.37

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 54.26 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!

Todd County Broadband Profile: 46 percent access to 25/3 and 3 percent to 100/20

In 2014, toddmore than 26 percent of Todd County had access to broadband. (Broadband was defined with lower speeds back then.) Today 46 percent of the county has access to broadband speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up) and more than 3 percent has access to the 2026 speed goals of 100/20.

Todd County has been working on broadband for years. They had a feasibility study done in 2011. They were involved as a Blandin Get Broadband community, which is a precursor of sorts to the Blandin Broadband Communities. It helped them focus on increased broadband use. Unfortunately, there is still work to be done.

In 2015, Todd County benefited from a Border to Border broadband grant

Arvig (Mainstreet Communications LLC), Sauk Lake area. Awarded $536,702 to build broadband infrastructure to serve 217 unserved premises in the Sauk Lake area, which is located primarily in Todd County (with some project area in rural Stearns County) just north of Sauk Centre. This is an unserved area where no wired broadband infrastructure is available. The full project cost is $1.07 million; the remaining $536,703 (50 percent) will be supplied by a private investment made by Arvig.

Todd County is in line to receive $387,849 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 796 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: 46.01
  • Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 2.86

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 59.62 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!

Swift County Broadband Profile: 79 percent access to 25/3; 30 percent to 100/20

In 2014, swift31 percent of Swift County had access to broadband. (Broadband was defined with lower speeds back then.) Today  79 percent of the county has access to broadband speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up) and more than 30 percent has access to the 2026 speed goals of 100/20.

Clearly they have had some big gains since 2014.

In 2015, the benefited from a Border to Border broadband grant

Friday the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced that Federated and Swift County had been awarded $4.95 million.

The project will deliver high-speed Internet service to 600 households, 425 businesses and 75 community institutions, DEED said.  The project affects 13 of the county’s 21 townships concentrated on area just east of the Benson city limits.

The area in Swift County included in the project is most of each of the following townships in the eastern half of the county: Kerkhoven, Hayes, Pillsbury, Dublin, Kildare, Camp Lake, Benson, Torning, Cashel, Swenoda, Six Mile Grove and Clontarf.

However, there were sections along U.S. Highway 12 between Murdock and Kerkhoven that would be excluded from the project as well as some areas east of Benson between Minnesota Highway 9 and U.S. Highway 12.  Much of the western half of the county already has fiber cable.

Total project costs are $12.5 million with $7.5 million (60 percent local match) coming through a loan from Swift County to Federated. Swift County’s Board of Commissioners plans to pass a bond issue early in 2016 with the proceeds being loaned to Federated for the project.

I’m not sure if the upgrades would have been completed before the last broadband maps were complete or if those improvements will be tracked in the next report. But it is a step in the right direction. They wll need to continue to expand and upgrade their connections if they want to meet the 2026 speed goals.

Swift County is in line to receive $32,335 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 122 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: 78.95
  • Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 30.41

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 40.21 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!

Stevens County Broadband Profile: 99 percent access to 25/3 and 96 percent access to 100/20

stevensIn 2014, more than 99 percent of Stevens County had access to broadband. (Broadband was defined with lower speeds back then.) Today more than 99 percent of the county has access to broadband speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up) and more than 96 percent has access to the 2026 speed goals of 100/20.

There are two providers in the county that provide service at the 2026 goal speed: Federated Telephone Coop and Mediacom.

In 2015, they benefited from a Border to Border Broadband grant

Otter Tail Telcom, Swan Lake West. Awarded $438,937 to expand existing infrastructure and bring fiber-to-the-home services to 110 unserved locations, including permanent residences with work-from-home employees near Swan Lake, on the outskirts of Fergus Falls, along the I-94 corridor. The total project costs are $877,874; the remaining $438,937 (50 percent local match) will be provided by Otter Tail Telcom.

Steven County was a Minnesota Intelligent Regional Community, which means they have been making a concerted effort to increase broadband adoption with projects like an online tool for college renters and landlords, digital inclusion training and putting cemetery records online.

Stevens County is in line to receive $69,860 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 87 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: 99.21
  • Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 96.73

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 27.38 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!

Steele County Broadband Profile: Well served with 99 access to 25/3 and 95 access to 100/20

In 2014, steelemore than 99 percent of Steele County had access to broadband. (Broadband was defined with lower speeds back then.) Today more than 99 percent of the county has access to broadband speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up) and more than 95 percent has access to the 2026 speed goals of 100/20.

Nearing the end of looking at every county, I’ve noticed some patterns – one is that there are a few counties that are well served and I never hear anything about them. Steele County is one of those. It always makes me wonder who the provider is. If a provider is focused on providing fast service; it gets done, often with little fanfare. Sadly the same isn’t true of a community. Community members can focus all they want, if the provider isn’t interested it’s difficult to make it happen. I hear about those communities.

The Office of Broadband Development has a list providers by counties, including the maximum download and upload speeds. Here are the providers that serve the area with reportedly faster access than 100/20:

  • CenturyLink – with DSL 105/40
  • Jaguar – with fiber 1000/100
  • Mediacom – with cable 150/20
  • Midcontinent Communications – with 200/20
  • Radio Link Internet – with fixed wireless 100/100

Steele County is in line to receive $1,612,611 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 2645 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: 99.86
  • Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 95.64

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 30.80 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!