Aitkin County Broadband Profile: Current ranking – 82

I am doing the annual look at broadband in each county – based on maps from the Office of Broadband Development and news gathered from the last year.

Aitkin has ranked near the bottom for some time now. Their ranking has dropped since last year (from 76 to 82). In fact they are one of the few counties in Minnesota where the broadband was deemed non-competitive for business by the FCC. There is frustration in the community.

They have been part of the BBC (Blandin Broadband Communities) and IRBC (Iron Range Broadband Communities) so there have been efforts made to promote better broadband. Over the summer I had the chance to meet with folks in the county to talk about their various broadband projects (hot spots and training). They have been building demand with hotspots in town and SCI (Savage Communications Inc) had recently decided to bring FTTH in Palisade!

More good news, SCI got a Minnesota broadband grant late in 2017 and they will be bringing better broadband to 374 households near Big Sandy Lake.

One caution is that while broadband has improved in the area – the numbers indicate that some of the improvement is lower than speeds of 100/20. Improvement will feel good for a while but they are not improving with fast enough speeds to keep up with the 2026 state speed goals.

Info on Access:

Speeds % served 2017 % served 2018
25/3 27.48 45.68
100/20 11.51 17.55


The speeds reflect the Minnesota speed goals:

  • 25 Mbps down and 3 up by 2022
  • 100 Mbps down and 20 up by 2026

Current ranking for 100/20 access: 82

This entry was posted in County Profiles 2018 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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