|Year||25/3 Mbps||100/20 Mbps|
#6 of 87
#4 of 87
#5 of 87
#3 of 87
#4 of 87
#41 of 87
#44 of 87
#64 of 87
Rank: 4 (out of 87) for access to 100/20 megabits per second (Mbps)
Swift County’s partnership with Federated Telephone has provided nearly ubiquitous coverage. Along with access, Swift County is well served because in 2015, Federated Telephone (now Acira) got a $4.9 million MN Broadband grant to bring Fiber to the Home (FTTH) to the county. There are a few patches without service; Appleton is not served because at the time they were considered served and did not qualify for the grant-funded upgrade. TO get ubiquitous coverage, they will need to find a way to cover Appleton.
Swift County has been working on creating a culture of use by participating in the current Blandin Broadband Community (BBC) cohort. Projects were reimagined a little with COVID, but in many ways the participation in BBC helped them be better prepared for the COVID restrictions.
COVID exacerbated the difference between the haves and have-nots. Some were able to work, learn and see a doctor from home. Others were not and the community worked to try to accommodate that difference. But it leaves a digital divide and causes people to spend time, energy and money to try to remedy the situation – instead of moving forward with innovation.
What we learned in the past:
Swift County’s partnership with Federated Telephone has provided nearly ubiquitous coverage. Along with access, Swift County has been working on creating a culture of use by participating in the current Blandin Broadband Community (BBC) cohort.
Swift County has benefited from two broadband grants:
- 2015 – Federated Telephone Cooperative – Swift County FTTP 2015 – Grant award: $4,950,000
- 2015 – MVTV Wireless Middle Mile – Grant award: $808,080
Update from 2020:
Swift County is a Blandin Broadband Community. The Blandin Broadband team got to meet with them several times to talk about the various projects, such as setting up camping reservations, a resource that will likely see more action after COVID-19 restrictions, computer distribution through PCs for People and working with local businesses to help them make the best use of digital marketing.
Is broadband a help or hindrance in dealing with COVID?
Swift County met with Blandin on Broadband to talk about how their broadband situation helped or hindered the ability to deal with COVID restrictions.
Despite their almost ubiquitous broadband, COVID exacerbated the difference between the haves and the have-nots. We heard from folks in both camps. Amanda has fiber. When the schools moved to distance education in the spring, she invited family from Little Falls to stay with them because they had better broadband. Their home connection served three adults working and four kids going to school. They never had a technology problem. Cindy was on the opposite end of the spectrum. She and her husband tried to work online from home, but they couldn’t work at the same time. For example, if one was on a Zoom call, the other couldn’t check Facebook.
The community tried to rally around the inequity, with wifi extensions at the library, mobile hotspots and the local healthcare facility created a room where folks without broadband could come to get online to take advantage of telehealth options.
Number of Providers
As of 2019 · Source: MN DEED
Households with Device Access
Has Worked with Blandin Foundation
Has Received MN Grant(s)
U.S. Congress: CD 7
MN Senate: 17
MN House: 17A