2019 MN Tribal Nation Broadband Profiles

Earlier this year, the Office of Broadband Development published broadband maps and rates for tribal nations in Minnesota. I have created tribal nation profiles, similar to the county profiles I have done in the past. 

Here is a reminder of the data on the areas. Maps are only created for the areas in red below, subsequently those are the areas with profiles. (Most of the other categories are not geographically defined.)

Name Households (2010 estimate) Percent Fixed, Non-Mobile Broadband (25/3) Percent Broadband (100/20) Percent Wireline Broadband (25/3) Percent Wireline Broadband (100M/20M)
Bois Forte Reservation 294 20.12 0.00 20.12 0.00
Fond du Lac Off-Reservation Trust Land 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Fond du Lac Reservation 1530 30.96 19.50 29.99 19.50
Grand Portage Off-Reservation Trust Land 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Grand Portage Reservation 257 94.24 94.24 94.24 94.24
Ho-Chunk Nation Off-Reservation Trust Land 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Leech Lake Off-Reservation Trust Land 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Leech Lake Reservation 3930 91.68 65.01 91.68 65.01
Lower Sioux Indian Community 134 100.00 94.07 77.12 68.44
Mille Lacs Off-Reservation Trust Land 41 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Mille Lacs Reservation 1835 60.51 60.46 61.12 61.07
Minnesota Chippewa Trust Land 22 4.55 0.00 4.55 0.00
Prairie Island Indian Community 62 100.00 50.59 50.16 50.16
Prairie Island Off-Reservation Trust Land 20 100.00 90.95 90.95 90.95
Red Lake Reservation 1757 99.81 99.81 99.81 99.81
Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community 116 50.00 50.00 44.36 31.98
Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Off-Reservation Trust Land 189 88.00 66.15 79.59 48.48
Upper Sioux Community 48 100.00 52.48 0.00 0.00
Upper Sioux Off-Reservation Trust Land 1 100.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
White Earth Off-Reservation Trust Land 11 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00
White Earth Reservation 3529 84.67 13.57 84.67 13.57

White Earth Reservation Broadband Profile: large reservation needs better service

Earlier this year, the Office of Broadband Development released data and maps on broadband coverage of tribal areas. The numbers are high level or maybe more reflective than exact but it’s a great start on getting a handle on what’s happening in tribal areas. I thought I’d do a profile of each area, much like I have done for Minnesota Counties. Here is White Earth Reservation

Info on Access/Households:

  • Number of households (2010 estimate): 3529
  • Percent Wireline Broadband 2022 speed goal (25/3): 84.67
  • Percent Wireline Broadband 2026 speed goal (100/20): 13.57

White Earth is the largest reservation in Minnesota. It crosses into Mahnomen, Clearwater, Polk and Becker. I thought it might be most helpful to look at the reservation by county (because I can get more info by county), the providers in each area and the very high level (by looking at the map) quality of service.

County Mostly served/
unserved/underserved
Providers in the area
Becker underserved CenturyLink, Paul Bunyan, West Central Telephone
Clearwater served Garden Valley, Paul Bunyan
Mahnomen unserved CenturyLink
Polk served Garden Valley, Halstad, Midcontinent

 

In 2010, Garden Valley received a $34 million loan from the USDA and in 2015 a $12 million loan from the USDA for fiber deployment. In 2017, Garden Valley received a $1.3 million loan from a MN Border to Border Broadband grant specifically to serve areas in Mahnomen County, including portions of White Earth Reservation…

This last mile project will serve 214 unserved households, 17 unserved businesses, and 7 unserved community anchor institutions in Bejou and surrounding rural areas within Mahnomen County, including portions of the White Earth Reservation in northwestern Minnesota.

White Earth has long had an interest in broadband. In 2009, they unsuccessfully applied for ARRA Stimulus funds serve 315 households, total population 534. Also serving all community anchors including critical facilities, medical, public safety services, tribal government buildings, and the school will be served. In 2014, White Earth got $75,000 develop a program to use e-health to promote health and improve care coordination.  Also in 2014, they were part of a grant-funded project to build a network of high-definition video connections linking five institutions for education and telehealth.

Learn more about White Earth reservation demographics from Center for Indian Country Development.

Upper Sioux Community Broadband Profile: where fixed wireless makes the difference

Earlier this year, the Office of Broadband Development released data and maps on broadband coverage of tribal areas. The numbers are high level or maybe more reflective than exact but it’s a great start on getting a handle on what’s happening in tribal areas. I thought I’d do a profile of each area, much like I have done for Minnesota Counties. Here is Upper Sioux Community

Info on Access/Households:

  • Number of households (2010 estimate): 48
  • Percent Wireline Broadband 2022 speed goal (25/3): 0
  • Percent Wireline Broadband 2026 speed goal (100/20): 0

I have been looking at wireline (not wireless) access for each tribal area; the map shows the same. For most communities the difference has been slim to none. That’s not true for Upper Sioux. Here is how they do for

  • Percent Fixed, Non-Mobile Broadband  (25/3): 100
  • Percent Fixed, Non-Mobile Broadband  (100/20): 52.48

The Upper Sioux community is mostly in Chippewa County but sneaks over to Yellow Medicine as well. LTD Broadband provides fixed wireless speeds beyond 100/20 in Chippewa and Yellow Medicine Counties. Advantenon provides service in Yellow Medicine.

Most communities strive for fiber access but the Upper Sioux has ubiquitous access to speed goals for 2022 with a technology that will scale to 2026 speeds. They just need to work on those upgrades.

Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Broadband Profile: plenty of area providers but need expansion

Earlier this year, the Office of Broadband Development released data and maps on broadband coverage of tribal areas. The numbers are high level or maybe more reflective than exact but it’s a great start on getting a handle on what’s happening in tribal areas. I thought I’d do a profile of each area, much like I have done for Minnesota Counties. Here is Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community

Info on Access/Households:

  • Number of households (2010 estimate): 116
  • Percent Wireline Broadband 2022 speed goal (25/3): 44.36
  • Percent Wireline Broadband 2026 speed goal (100/20): 31.98

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux reservation is located in Scott County – in noncontiguous sections. Looking at the map, the area near the Little Six Casino is served, areas in the southern part of the county have mixed service and the northmost section, which appears to be the largest section, is unserved.

There are quite a few providers (CenturyLink, Comcast, BEVComm, Jaguar, Lonsdale, Mediacom, Nuvera and Integra) that offer broadband access in Scott County. Usually where there’s competition, there’s greater chance of getting improvement.

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux have demonstrated an appreciation for broadband. The tribe has donated to broadband projects in other areas (Browning, MT, Blackfeet Nation, MT and Northern Arapaho Tribe, NY). They supported a program where Native youth learned to use broadband and technology tools to share their stories and the stories of their culture. (The event was part of the 2015 Blandin Broadband conference.) The tribal newsroom highlighted the 2018 Farm Bill, mentioning specifically broadband opportunities.

Red Lake Reservation Broadband Profile: almost ubiquitous access to 100/20

Earlier this year, the Office of Broadband Development released data and maps on broadband coverage of tribal areas. The numbers are high level or maybe more reflective than exact but it’s a great start on getting a handle on what’s happening in tribal areas. I thought I’d do a profile of each area, much like I have done for Minnesota Counties. Here is Red Lake Reservation

Info on Access/Households:

 

  • Number of households (2010 estimate): 1757
  • Percent Wireline Broadband 2022 speed goal (25/3): 99.81
  • Percent Wireline Broadband 2026 speed goal (100/20): 99.81

Red Lake Reservation is clearly in great shape when it comes to broadband access. When I looked at Beltrami and Clearwater last fall, Beltrami had 96 percent broadband coverage (by 2026 speed goal definition) and Clearwater had 89 percent. The reservation is doing better than the surrounding areas, which is unusual especially when the surrounding areas are doing well.

There are a few providers that offer those speeds (100/20) in the area. In Beltrami, there is CenturyLink, Garden Valley Telephone, MidContinent and Paul Bunyan; while in Clearwater there is only Garden Valley and Paul Bunyan.

In 2010, Garden Valley received a $34 million loan from the USDA and in 2015 a $12 million loan from the USDA for fiber deployment. Last summer (Aug 2018), Garden Valley received a USDA loan for $20 million specifically to build more fiber.

Learn more about Red Lake reservation demographics from Center for Indian Country Development.

Prairie Island Indian Community Broadband Profile: Good access, but need more of it

Earlier this year, the Office of Broadband Development released data and maps on broadband coverage of tribal areas. The numbers are high level or maybe more reflective than exact but it’s a great start on getting a handle on what’s happening in tribal areas. I thought I’d do a profile of each area, much like I have done for Minnesota Counties. Here is Prairie Island Indian Community

Info on Access/Households:

  • Number of households (2010 estimate): 62
  • Percent Wireline Broadband 2022 speed goal (25/3): 50.16
  • Percent Wireline Broadband 2026 speed goal (100/20): 50.16

The good news is that the broadband that’s available to Prairie Island residents is good. The bad news is that only half the community is served. Prairie Island is located in Goodhue County. HBC has done some work with the community. There are several providers that offer broadband at speeds of 100/20 or better in the county, although that doesn’t mean they serve the whole Prairie Island community. But where there is competition nearby, there is a better chance for expansion.

The Prairie Island Indian Community owns and operates Treasure Island Resort and Casino. That is likely a good anchor customer for a broadband provider and I suspect the homes close to the casino are served.

 

Lower Sioux Indian Community Broadband Profile: 68 percent access to 100/20

Earlier this year, the Office of Broadband Development released data and maps on broadband coverage of tribal areas. The numbers are high level or maybe more reflective than exact but it’s a great start on getting a handle on what’s happening in tribal areas. I thought I’d do a profile of each area, much like I have done for Minnesota Counties. Here is Lower Sioux Indian Community

Info on Access/Households:

  • Number of households (2010 estimate): 134
  • Percent Wireline Broadband 2022 speed goal (25/3): 77.12
  • Percent Wireline Broadband 2026 speed goal (100/20): 68.44

In April 2017, Mediacom announced that they upgraded their customers on the Lower Sioux Reservation to their GIg access. Those upgrades are likely represented in the stats above. And looking at the map, it appears as if the served area is in Renville County, which would be RS Fiber territory.

Clearly there is work to be done in the Lower Sioux but the good news is that the broadband they have is good broadband; they are not building broadband that will only be sufficient to meet the 2022 speed goals. They appear to be moving toward the future.

The Lower Sioux was able to participate in Blandin Broadband Community (BBC) project through a partnership with Redwood County.