The new MN County broadband maps are now up on the Office of Broadband Development websites- show percentage of each county with (and without) broadband access. It’s always interesting to use the new maps to see how the counties rank. Who is in the best shape in the short and long term? In this post I look at how counties rank when looking at access to 25 Mbps down and 3 up, which is the MN speed goal for 2022. (I will do another post that looks at 2026 goals of 100 Mbps down and 20 up and one on Gig access.) And I will compare to 2019 ranking.
Top 10 MN Counties for Speeds of 25/3
Red Lake 99.99
Lac qui Parle 99.57
Big Stone 99.48
Great to see the top 10 with more than 99 percent coverage. The counties in bold were on this same list last year. Congrats to LqP for joining the list; it wasn’t much of a climb for them but nice all the same.
Bottom 10 MN Counties for Speeds of 25/3 (starting with worst)
Lake of the Woods 57.91
Yellow Medicine 59.83
Again the counties in bold were on this list last year. Both Redwood and Todd were listed at having greater coverage last year. I will dive into that when I look at County Profiles but it seems like perhaps providers are looking in greater granularity at the coverage this year or maybe updates were made to maps based on challenges from last year.
I want to cheer the counties who got off the bottom 10 list:
From the Blandin Foundation is introducing a new roundtable series – Tuesdays at 9am…
The Blandin Community Broadband Program’s five-week Broadband Leadership Webinar Series: Creating Successful Broadband Infrastructure Projects concluded last week. Thanks to all who participated!
Blandin Foundation will continue its online broadband leadership presence with weekly roundtable discussions on a variety of topics. Anyone is welcome to join and participate, to ask questions, to promote broadband partnership opportunities, to share positive experiences and express frustrations. The goal of the roundtable is to increase the ability of local broadband leaders to solve their local broadband puzzle. Host Bill Coleman will have some topics ready to go, but there will always be time for your particular question. The key to these sessions will be active discussions so that requires active participation.
Our kick-off topic will be the importance of the FCC’s upcoming RDOF auctions and what your community needs to do to ensure that the outcome is favorable to your community. Bill will also be prepared to talk about the Frontier bankruptcy and what that might mean for your area. We hope that these discussions will provide opportunity for follow-up action for your community and for shared broadband advocacy across your region and the state. Since we can’t get together over coffee, bring your own and join us! You can register for the roundtables here.
Join Representatives from the Minnesota Youth Council and Youthprise for a live-streamed conversation on the ways in which distance learning is impacting students and their learning experience. Listen as they talk through challenges, opportunities and resources for students across the state.
Thanks to everyone who attended the webinar on webinars today. It was a conversation as much as a presentation and we all learned from each other. It got us thinking that maybe it makes sense to consider a regular opportunity to meet up online to talk about what we’re learning and need to learn about technology in the time of coronavirus. We could have loose topics decided in advance and maybe try out a few webinar platforms while we’re at it. But the intention is to keep the content sparse and questions plentiful.
We wanted to know if others would be interested – no commitment, just gaging interest. Let us know in the poll below and if you have a topic you want ot suggest – please do it in the comments below – or email me at email@example.com
Meetings in the Time of Coronavirus: Tips and Tricks of online meetings
As we move online, all of us are getting a crash course on online meetings. We thought we’d open up our sandbox to talk about how we’ve been hosting Zoom meetings and what we know about Facebook Live, Google Hangouts and Twitter parties. (Mostly Zoom.) We’re not experts, but we’re practitioners. We want to create a safe space for everyone give it a go – you can share your screen or take a chance to ask a question!
In rural areas, having a subscription to an internet service doesn’t equal a quality connection. Counties outside of the seven-county metro have a noticeably lower percentage of households with access to broadband or, in some cases, any internet at all. Figure 1 provides the average percentage of households by internet connection type by county group. The more rural a county is, the more likely it is to have a significantly lower percentage of households with an internet subscription. In fact, Minnesota’s most rural counties can have a percentage of households with an internet subscription that is 10 to 20 percentage points less than entirely urban areas.
The percentage of households who are subscribed to a broadband service decreases significantly as a county becomes more rural. In addition, the percentage of households relying on their cell phone data plan or dial-up connection increases with rural-ness. Data: U.S. Census Bureau, ACS 5-year (2013-2017).
What I find fascinating is the perentage (low as it is) of dial-up connectivity!
The article goes on to detail good works by local and national providers in improving access in Minnesota – a fleshed out version of what I’ve been tracking on the blog too – super helpful if you want to know exactly what folks are offering.
Thanks to BEVCOMM for sending me their info to add to the growing list of what local providers are doing to ease the pain of Coronavirus threat
BLUE EARTH, MN — The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, continues to spread across the country, prompting thousands of American businesses and schools to move to remote work and online instruction.
Turning online for work and education may cause stress for local families living without high speed broadband in their homes.
To support customers working from home, as well as school staff and students taking part in eLearning programs, BEVCOMM is offering: (1) A $9.95 broadband connection for eligible low-income families working from home and for students taking part in eLearning programs. Qualifications include: must be a new customer, qualify for Free School Lunch, or the Low-Income Heating Assistance Program. Some restrictions apply.
(2) BEVCOMM will donate $3,000 to each public school district in its serving area to help support the purchase of Wi-Fi hotspots.
(3) BEVCOMM has joined the FCC in the Keep Americans Connected pledge, which will promote connectivity for residents impacted by disruptions during this coronavirus pandemic. Given the scope of this pandemic and its impact on American society, we pledge for the next 60 days to: • Not terminate service to any residential or small business broadband or phone customer because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic;
• Waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic; and
Due to rising health concerns, the local BEVCOMM offices in Minnesota and Wisconsin will close their doors to the public effective at 8:00am on March 17, 2020. Please know BEVCOMM employees are still here to support you. They offer 24x7x365 Customer Service and Technical Support. Please reach out to them by calling your local BEVCOMM office or toll free at 800-473-1442.
Payments can be made over the phone with a credit or debit card, sent via postal mail, left in our local drop boxes, or paid online at http://www.bevcomm.net.
BEVCOMM installation and repair technicians spend much of their day in customer homes and businesses. For your safety and the safety of employees BEVCOMM will limit interactions to new broadband and phone installations and service outages. Thankfully, many technical troubles can be resolved remotely without having to send out a technician, however, there are times when they need to go on site to resolve the issue. Depending on the issue, BEVCOMM may ask to delay the resolution until exposure is less likely and requests that you communicate current health status prior to a scheduled appointment.
In addition, it is important to be aware of potential scams that may occur in relation to COVID19. Should you receive emails that look suspicious, please delete them and most importantly avoid clicking on links. It is a good practice to change passwords frequently.
Our nation is experiencing an unprecedented crisis, but no students should have to stop learning or employees stop working due to their internet connection. For more information and to upgrade your broadband subscription please contact us at 1-800-473-1442.
For more information regarding COVID-19, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019ncov/index.html
BEVCOMM’s COVID-19 response: Low-cost options, donations to school, waiving late fees (Serving at least portions of Blue Earth, Dodge, Faribault, Freeborn, Goodhue, Le Sueur, Martin, Olmsted, Rice, Scott, Steele, Wabasha and Waseca counties.)
SCI– has signed the keep america connected pledge and are offering low income families $19.95 per month Internet service for 90 days. (Serving at least portions of Aitkin, Carlton, Cass, Crow Wing, Itasca, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Pine, St. Louis, and Wadena Counties.
[Added Mar 26] You can see a list of the providers who have signed the Keep Americans Connected Pledge. It includes may in Minnesota (including MN Telecom Alliance, and means for the “next 60 days” they pledge:
not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic;
waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic; and
open its Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them.