2021 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.

Below are profiles of the communities that have maps followed by percent of households with access to 100 Mbps down and 20 up.


Here’s a comparison of those communities looking at mapping from 2021 and 2019.

Access to Fixed, Non-Mobile Broadband
Name %Broadband (25/3) 2021 %Broadband (25/3) 2019 %Broadband (100/20) 2021 %Broadband (100/20) 2019
Bois Forte Reservation 65.36 20.12 0 0.00
Fond du Lac Res 83.81 30.96 66.4 19.5
Grand Portage 94.24 94.24 94.24 94.24
Leech Lake 95.15 91.68 78.99 65.01
Lower Sioux 100 100 90.24 77.12
Mille Lacs 76.41 60.51 72.54 60.46
Prairie Island 100 100 50.24 50.59
Red Lake 99.82 99.81 99.82 99.81
Shakopee Mdewakanton 100 50 100 50
Upper Sioux 100 100 47.58 0
White Earth 89.96 84.67 89.96 84.67

And finally data on all of 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 es) Percent Fixed, Non-Mobile Broadband (25/3) Percent Broadband (100/20) Percent Wireline Broadband (25/3) Percent Wireline Broadband (100/20)
Bois Forte Reservation 294 65.36 0.00 65.36 0.00
Bois Forte Reservation Off-Reservation Trust Land 26 33.54 0.00 33.54 0.00
Fond du Lac Off-Reservation Trust Land 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Fond du Lac Reservation 1530 83.89 66.44 80.13 66.44
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 95.15 78.99 95.15 78.99
Lower Sioux Indian Community 134 100.00 90.24 68.62 68.43
Mille Lacs Off-Reservation Trust Land 41 19.20 0.00 19.20 0.00
Mille Lacs Reservation 1882 76.44 72.54 76.44 72.54
Minnesota Chippewa Trust Land 1 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00
Prairie Island Indian Community 62 100.00 50.24 50.24 50.24
Prairie Island Off-Reservation Trust Land 21 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00
Red Lake Reservation 1757 99.82 99.82 99.82 99.82
Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community 116 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00
Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Off-Reservation Trust Land 189 100.00 100.00 99.99 98.60
Upper Sioux Community 48 100.00 47.58 70.83 0.00
Upper Sioux Off-Reservation Trust Land 1 100.00 100.00 0.00 0.00
White Earth Off-Reservation Trust Land 11 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00
White Earth Reservation 3529 89.96 78.24 89.96 78.24

 

White Earth Reservation Broadband Profile: almost 90 percent access to 100/20

Code: Green
Population: 3529
(See Blandin Foundation interactive map)

White Earth Reservation has seen an increase in broadband access of 100 Mbps down and 3 up to almost 90 percent. They have the same access to 25/3, which is nice because it means the whole (served) community it built for future demand

They are one of the few communities where looking at fixed, non-mobile broadband versus wireline makes a difference. Looking at wireline, they have no access to 100/20.

Access to Fixed, Non-Mobile Broadband
Name %Broadband (25/3) 2021 %Broadband (25/3) 2019 %Broadband (100/20) 2021 %Broadband (100/20) 2019
White Earth 89.96 84.67 89.96 84.67

White Earth is the largest reservation in Minnesota. There are a number of providers around the areas, which usually helps with competition. 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. In November, 2019, AT&T announced the installation of a FirstNet (Public Safety) cell site near the Reservation. The site was built to help improve coverage along the eastern edge of the White Earth Reservation.

White Earth is a Blandin Broadband Community. That helps to promote greater us of broadband but also helped to provide Wi-Fi access to community members, libraries, community workforce, and schools. During the pandemic, they even started working on cell boosters for areas without access. (You can learn more about the various Blandin-sponsored projects in the video below.)

In August 2021, White Earth got a grant to provide a combination of broadband and fiber infrastructure, and fund other services that will help students connect to internet resources and thrive in remote learning environments.

All of these efforts will help White Earth get to ubiquitous broadband.

White Earth Reservation
(get 2020 map)

Key:

  • Served: Green
  • Underserved: Purple
  • Unserved: Pink

I am doing the annual look at broadband in tribal areas – 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)

Upper Sioux Community Broadband Profile: 47 percent access to 100/20

Code: Red
Population: 48
(See Blandin Foundation interactive map)

Upper Sioux Community has seen an increase in broadband access of 100 Mbps down and 3 up to almost 47 percent. They have 100 percent access to 25/3, which has not changed since last mapping.

They are one of the few communities where looking at fixed, non-mobile broadband versus wireline makes a difference. Looking at wireline, they have no access to 100/20.

Access to Fixed, Non-Mobile Broadband
Name %Broadband (25/3) 2021 %Broadband (25/3) 2019 %Broadband (100/20) 2021 %Broadband (100/20) 2019
Upper Sioux 100 100 47.58 0

LTD Broadband provides fixed wireless speeds beyond 100/20 in Chippewa and Yellow Medicine Counties. Advantenon provides service in Yellow Medicine. The existing relationship with LTD may put the community in a good position if LTD gets federal RDOF money but there is some controversy.

LTD was chosen as the single provider invited to submit a proposal to serve FTTH to large parts of Minnesota. Many folks (from Senators to other providers) are concerned that LTD will not be able to meet their obligations, in part because they provide fixed wireless not Fiber to the Home.

Unfortunately, areas that may be served by the LTD federally funded upgrade are in a limbo as the FCC decides whether to fund the project or not.

Upper Sioux Community
(get 2020 map)

Key:

  • Served: Green
  • Underserved: Purple
  • Unserved: Pink

I am doing the annual look at broadband in tribal areas – 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)

Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Broadband Profile: 100 percent access to 100/20

Code: Green
Population: 116
(See Blandin Foundation interactive map)

Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community has 100 percent access to speeds of 100 Mbps down and 20 up to 66 percent. They saw an incredible increased from 50 percent to ubiquitous since the last mapping!

Access to Fixed, Non-Mobile Broadband
Name %Broadband (25/3) 2021 %Broadband (25/3) 2019 %Broadband (100/20) 2021 %Broadband (100/20) 2019
Shakopee Mdewakanton 100 50 100 50

There are quite a few providers (CenturyLink, Comcast, BEVComm, Jaguar, Lonsdale, Mediacom, Nuvera and Integra) that offer broadband access in Scott County. Last report I noted that where there’s competition, there’s greater chance of getting improvement. Looks like that worked out for them.

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux have demonstrated an appreciation for broadband. The tribe has donated to broadband projects in other areas (Browning, MTBlackfeet 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.)

Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community
(get 2020 map)

Map Key:

  • Served: Green
  • Underserved: Purple
  • Unserved: Pink

I am doing the annual look at broadband in tribal areas – 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 Reservation Broadband Profile: 99 percent access to 100/20

Code: Green
Population: 1757
(See Blandin Foundation interactive map)

Red Lake Reservation has almost ubiquitous access to 100 Mbps down and 20 up.

Access to Fixed, Non-Mobile Broadband
Name %Broadband (25/3) 2021 %Broadband (25/3) 2019 %Broadband (100/20) 2021 %Broadband (100/20) 2019
Red Lake 99.82 99.81 99.82 99.81

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.

Red Lake Reservation
(get 2020 map)

Map Key:

  • Served: Green
  • Underserved: Purple
  • Unserved: Pink

I am doing the annual look at broadband in tribal areas – 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)

Prairie Island Indian Community Broadband Profile: 50 percent access to 100/20

Code: Green
Population: 62
(See Blandin Foundation interactive map)

Prairie Island Indian Community has remained stagnant with 50 percent access to speeds of 100 Mbps down and 100 percent access to 25/3.

Access to Fixed, Non-Mobile Broadband
Name %Broadband (25/3) 2021 %Broadband (25/3) 2019 %Broadband (100/20) 2021 %Broadband (100/20) 2019
Prairie Island 100 100 50.24 50.59

Good news for the community, HBC announced FTTH access in October 2019. Unfortunately that access is not reflected in the maps, which were published in April 2021, so likely created at the end of 2020. Hopefully the next map will show the FTTH network.

Prairie Island Indian Community
(get 2020 map)

Map Key:

  • Served: Green
  • Underserved: Purple
  • Unserved: Pink

I am doing the annual look at broadband in tribal areas – 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)

Mille Lacs Reservation Broadband Profile: 72 percent access to 100/20

Code: Yellow
Population: 1882
(See Blandin Foundation interactive map)

Mille Lacs Reservation has seen some success in deploying better broadband in the last year. They went from 60 percent access to speeds of 100 Mbps down and 20 up to 72 percent; and access to 25/3 went from almost 60 percent to almost 76.

Access to Fixed, Non-Mobile Broadband
Name %Broadband (25/3) 2021 %Broadband (25/3) 2019 %Broadband (100/20) 2021 %Broadband (100/20) 2019
Mille Lacs 76.41 60.51 72.54 60.46

In 2015, Mille Lacs County developed a broadband feasibility study that included a brief statement on connectivity on the reservation…

The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe have constructed fiber connecting their casino, their main headquarters, and some of their other businesses. They buy bandwidth from the local cable company and are satisfied with the bandwidth they can get. They operate businesses outside of that fiber network for which they cannot get good bandwidth.

In April 2021, Mille Lacs Tribal Economy started working with the Blandin Foundation on a 15-week course of study and education about broadband for a community team. (The Mille Lacs Tribal Economy encompasses the three districts of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe territory.) The video below speaks specifically about the spotty nature of broadband in some parts of the community – as well as hope that providers will build in the area with federal funds.

In October 2021, the Tribal Economy received $6,670 from the Initiative Foundation for  a 12-month case study on broadband services and experiences among the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe districts.

Mille Lacs Reservation
(get 2020 map)

Map Key:

  • Served: Green
  • Underserved: Purple
  • Unserved: Pink

I am doing the annual look at broadband in tribal areas – 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)

 

Leech Lake Broadband Profile: 79 percent access to 100/20

Code: Green
Population: 3930
(See Blandin Foundation interactive map)

Leech Lake Reservation has seen some success in deploying better broadband in the last year. They went from 65 percent access to speeds of 100 Mbps down and 20 up to almost 79 percent; and access to 25/3 went from almost 92 percent to 95.

Access to Fixed, Non-Mobile Broadband
Name %Broadband (25/3) 2021 %Broadband (25/3) 2019 %Broadband (100/20) 2021 %Broadband (100/20) 2019
Leech Lake 95.15 91.68 78.99 65.01

Leech Lake has been focused on broadband for years. In the Summer of 2014, with support from the Blandin Foundation, Leech Lake started a 5-year plan to build a wireless network to serve homes on the reservation. In September 2018, Paul Bunyan Communications announced expansion of the Gigazone to the Leech Lake Reservation. Summer of 2020, Paul Bunyan announced another project, funding by a MN Border to Border grant to continue to expand the FTTH network. And Leech Lake announced plans to continue to pursue funding for continued expansion with Paul Bunyan.

Leech Lake worked on broadband adoption/digital inclusion projects with their involvement in MIRC, a Blandin Foundation initiative and precursor to the Blandin Broadband Communities. One project included digital inclusion training that led to job placement.

Leech Lake Reservation
(get 2020 map)

Map Key:

  • Served: Green
  • Underserved: Purple
  • Unserved: Pink

I am doing the annual look at broadband in tribal areas – 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)

 

Grand Portage Reservation Broadband Profile: Green

Code: Green
Population: 257
(See Blandin Foundation interactive map)

While Grand Portage has not seen improvement since last year, they are in a good position with more than 94 percent having access to speeds of 100 Mbps down and 20 up.

Access to Fixed, Non-Mobile Broadband
Name %Broadband (25/3) 2021 %Broadband (25/3) 2019 %Broadband (100/20) 2021 %Broadband (100/20) 2019
Grand Portage 94.24 94.24 94.24 94.24

Grand Portage has worked on better broadband, with Cook County and others through NESC middle mile project and the Arrowhead Electric Coop FTTH network.

Grand Portage worked on broadband adoption/digital inclusion projects with their involvement (via Cook County) in MIRC, a Blandin Foundation initiative, a precursor to the Blandin Broadband Communities.

They may need a push to get to ubiquitous broadband. The pandemic has likely exacerbated issues for those without access so perhaps they will hear a more vocal demand.

Grand Portage Reservation
(get 2020 map)

Map Key:

  • Served: Green
  • Underserved: Purple
  • Unserved: Pink

I am doing the annual look at broadband in tribal areas – 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)

 

MN Tribal broadband maps are out – compare 2019 to 2020 coverage

I recently finished the MN County Broadband profiles – 87 mini reports on what’s happening in each county. I’ve been keep an eye out for an opportunity to update the profiles for MN tribal communities as well. The maps from the Office of Broadband Development are out, which show the coverage (served/underserved/unserved) but the numbers aren’t. From a macro level it’s hard to compare progress or gauge success without the numbers. When the numbers come out I’ll do a deeper dive, in the meantime I thought it might be interesting to at least see the maps from 2019 and 2020 for each tribal area. Side by side we can make some assessments in each community.

Key:

  • Served: Green
  • Underserved: Purple
  • Unserved: Pink

Bois Forte Reservation
(get 2020 map)


Fond du Lac
(get 2020 map)


Grand Portage Reservation
(get 2020 map)


Leech Lake Reservation
(get 2020 map)


Lower Sioux Indian Community
(get 2020 map)


Mille Lacs Reservation
(get 2020 map)


Prairie Island Indian Community
(get 2020 map)


Red Lake Reservation
(get 2020 map)


Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community
(get 2020 map)


Upper Sioux Community
(get 2020 map)


White Earth Reservation
(get 2020 map)