Sherburne County Broadband Profile: Access has slipped to 75 percent access to 25/3 but efforts are improving speeds

In 2014, sherburne92 percent of Sherburne County had access to broadband. (Broadband was defined with lower speeds back then.) Today 75 percent of the county has access to broadband speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up) and 28 percent has access to the 2026 speed goals of 100/20.

Sherburne County is going the wrong direction; they have gone from well served to underserved as the definition of broadband changes. (The good news is they realize the problem.) Sherburne County is a Blandin Broadband Community, which means they are focused on improving broadband adoption and expansion. They are a team that is especially interested in expansion and upgrades…

They have a feasibility study and started an effort called Sherband to drive the effort for better broadband. They created a video on their need for better broadband. They have hosted conversations with politicians.

In 2015, they (via Palmer Wireless) received a Border to Border broadband grant

Palmer Wireless, Becker Industrial Park. Awarded $151,934 to deploy 3.4 miles of fiber passing 21 underserved businesses in the Becker Industrial Park (city of Becker) as well as to 12 vacant city-owned lots covering 70 acres. In addition, one of the vacant lots is the future site of the Northstar station. The total project costs are $303,870; the remaining $151,936 (50 percent local match) will be provided by Palmer Wireless via a line of credit.

And they received another grant in 2017

Palmer Wireless, Big Lake Industrial Park – $90,988. The project will serve 17 underserved businesses and 1 underserved community anchor institution in the Big Lake Industrial Park. Palmer Wireless will improve services that will have a positive impact on the economic health of Big Lake and businesses in the park. The total eligible project cost is $211,600, with a $120,612 local match. [Sherburne County]

Sherburne County is in line to receive $525,436 in CAF 2 funding to upgrade 2159 locations. 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 they ranked:

  • Percentage served with 25/3 or better: 75.40
  • Percentage served with 100/20 or better: 28.02


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 they ranked:

DDI score of 17.03 out of 100.

More info:

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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