An update on broadband service in Otter Tail County
There are many parts of rural Minnesota still underserved with slow, or even no internet, but for Otter Tail County, broadband connectivity is improving.
What is broadband?
Today’s “high speed internet” is more accurately defined as “broadband”- high-speed Internet access that is always on and uses several high-speed transmission technologies. Currently, the FCC defines broadband a connection with speeds of 25 megabits download speed and 3 megabits upload speed. Fortunately, Otter Tail County has seen progress in broadband expansion, with more and more fiber optic cable being laid underground. This is due in part to the State of Minnesota investing about half a billion in broadband, much of which was directed to local grants to cover rural areas.
Funding for broadband
One such program is Otter Tail County’s Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program. This program “funds the expansion of broadband service to areas of Minnesota that are unserved or underserved,” according to the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development. In 2017, $20 million in funds included from the Legislature was used for the grant program. Multiple areas in OTC fell under the requirements of the grant where access was underserved or had no availability to fiber at all. After conducting a broadband feasibility study, it was determined that $380 million would be needed to reach all of OTC with proper internet. It became clear that utilizing grants, such as the Border-to-Border program would be necessary.
Areas being addressed
Multiple areas of OTC have benefited from the grant program over the past three years, including Pelican Rapids, Fergus Falls, Battle Lake, Wadena and other surrounding areas that reach into other communities such as Ashby in Grant County. Grants have been implemented by telecommunication businesses in the county such as Park Region/Otter Tail Telcom LLC, and Arvig.
Check out these great rural properties. If you have any questions about internet speed in a home or acreage property you are interested in, just ask us- We will let you know who the service provider is and what speeds are availabel.
Customer research in our area shows an average of seven devices per household connected to the internet. This increasing demand means more bandwidth is required by our communities. Through the continued efforts of community, government groups and service providers, the gap is closing on broadband haves and have-nots.