Otter Tail County Broadband Profile: current ranking 87

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.

Otter Tail broadband ranking has slipped from 82 to 87, or dead last for access to 100/20. Access to 25/3 is not as dire so residents may not feel a strong urge to make changes but as more people get better access, applications will assume better access and residents will be set up for frustration if they don’t start to aim for better broadband.

But there is some good news, local residents do recognize the need for better broadband. The presented their current status at a regional broadband meeting hosted by the Blandin Foundation earlier this year (2018).

Also former Senator Becky Lourey visited the area to learn more…

In fact, recent estimates anticipate that the necessary expenses for installation of broadband services across the county would total nearly $170 million.

Still, the improved service coverage would mean enhanced appeal for rural communities looking to attract medical professionals. At present, those considering small-town living may feel isolated.

The area did receive some state funding for better service a couple years ago…

A grant of $718,850 was awarded to the West Central Telephone Association in Wadena. The broadband expansion project will provide access for 174 unserved homes and 13 unserved businesses in Bluffton and Blowers townships in Otter Tail County and portions of Rockwood, Leaf River, North Germany and Wing River townships in Wadena County.

The total eligible project is $1.5 million, with a $778,755 local match.

And were even better positioned in the last round, where it looks like more funding will come directly to Otter Tail County

Arvig, Pelican Rapids Rural Non-ACAM – $633,642. This middle and last mile project will upgrade approximately 546 unserved households and 60 unserved businesses in the Pelican Rapids rural area of Otter Tail County. A funding partnership with the State of Minnesota and Arvig will improve broadband service levels to at least 100 Mbps download and 100 Mbps upload, meeting or exceeding the 2022 and 2026 state speed goals. These investments will improve quality of life and business development opportunities. The total eligible project cost is $1,624,725, with a $991,083 local match.

Info on Access:

Speeds % served 2017 % served 2018
25/3 59.34 89.56
100/20 1.75 2.36

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: 87

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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