Cottonwood County: 60 percent coverage at 25/3 and 20 percent at 100/20 maybe the new state broadband grant will help

cottonwoodCottonwoods coverage has not changed much since 2014; back then broadband coverage was 60 percent and that is what it is today for speeds of 25/3. (Back in 2014 the definition of broadband was slower.) Unfortunately for Cottonwood, the coverage is only at 19 percent for 100/60, the speed goals for 2026.

Cottonwood, like many counties, has service in and around the bigger town (Windom) outside of that area they have very little. Cottonwood is in a position where they need to focus on both wider coverage and better coverage or they will find themselves on the list of least served counties. They will get some help with the most recent State Broadband grant awards. Woodstock Telephone received $412,391 to upgrade services in Cottonwood.

Recently Representative Rod Hamilton had a letter to the editor in AgWeek, in favor of the State Broadband grant challenge process – which allowed incumbent providers to challenge and provider looking to provide service in their area (or planned area). He was also in favor of serving unserved areas. His view may be shortsighted given the broadband outlook in his own community. He has areas that are currently unserved (40 percent) but he also has areas that are under-served (80 percent) and will not meet the speed goals for 2026.

Cottonwood County is in line to receive $1,090,723 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 1,388 locations. Unfortunately CAF 2 recipients are only required to upgrade to 10/1 access. Many may choose to upgrade to better speeds but there are no requirements.


The Office of Broadband Development released data on broadband covered in fall of 2016, based on information gathered in July 2016. Here’s how Cottonwood County ranked:

  • Percentage served with 25/3 or better: 60.52
  • Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 19.24


Mississippi State University Extension have come up with a ranking system to gauge the digital divide index (DDI) by county. (The lower the number the better – the state average is 40.66.) Here’s how Cottonwood ranked:

DDI score of 54.12 out of 100.

More info:

  • Districts: CD 1 / 22

I plan to profile each county in Minnesota – tracking broadband access, digital divide and annotated links to news of what’s happening with broadband in the county. I’m keeping it high level because there are 87 counties!

This entry was posted in County Profiles 2017, MN by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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