Sherburne County Broadband Profile: current ranking 36

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.

Sherburne County broadband ranking has increased from 67 to 36! Sherburne county received upgrades via state broadband projects in 2015 and 2017 and they received an award in the last round of grants (via Palmer Wireless)…

The $110,661 grant, in conjunction with a local match from Sherburne County, will allow high-speed internet to serve 32 more homes and businesses and the Haven Town Hall.

This project supports customers that border Sherburne County Road 3 between county roads 7 and 20. That is just south of St. Cloud Regional Airport and east of Highway 10. The project will connect to an existing Palmer Wireless network that is being built as a result of the 2016 Border to Border St. Cloud Airport project.

Most of the locations in this area are rural homes, farms and businesses with large open spaces…

The county partnered with Palmer Wireless in the form of a $135,253 interest-free loan to help fund the project. The county has been installing the necessary conduit needed for the fiber in conjunction with highway improvement projects.

That should help with continued upgrades.

Sherburne has been looking at broadband for a few years. They were a Blandin Broadband Community

In 2014, 92 percent of Sherburne County had access to broadband as it was then defined (lower speeds back then). In 2016, when the definition of broadband was updated to take into account technological advances, only 75 percent of the county had access to broadband speeds of 25/3 (Mbps down/up), and 28 percent had access to Minnesota’s 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. It’s therefore not surprising that as a Blandin Broadband Community, Sherburne County focused on improving broadband access and infrastructure. The strategy they adopted was to focus on educating the public, improving technology use in schools, and on smaller public access projects.

Earlier in 2018, they held a legislative listening session to tell their legislators how important broadband is…

Hometown News Source reports on a meeting earlier in January where policymakers met with folks in Sherburne County about legislative priorities. Legislative attendees include Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake; Rep. Nick Zerwas, R-Elk River; Rep. Sondra Erickson, R-Princeton, Rep. Jim Newberger, R-Becker, Sen. Jerry Relph, R-St. Cloud and Rep. Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, who is speaker of the House. A seventh legislator, Sen. Andrew Mathews, R-Milaca, was represented by his legislative assistant….

The county is interested in increasing rural area broadband fiber access.

Assistant County Administrator Dan Weber said a 2014 survey found that more than 60 percent of respondents felt their broadband access was inadequate then or would be in the future.

Since then, the county has received grants to improve access. Additional funding was provided through a federal program. As a result, Sherburne’s rank with regards to access to broadband has gone from 49th to 31st out of 87 counties, with the percent served rising from 74 percent to 85 percent. More, however, needs to be done, he said.

Info on Access:

Speeds % served 2017 % served 2018
25/3 75.40 94.50
100/20 28.02 67.11

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: 36

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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