Stearns County Broadband Profile: current ranking 64

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.

Stearns County broadband ranking has dropped from 58 to 64.

Stearns County will see some improvement in access through Albany Mutual Telephone and the state grant they received in the last round

Albany Mutual Telephone Association, Two Rivers Area – $616,743. This last mile project will extend the existing Albany Fiber-to-the-Home network to serve 121 unserved households and home-based businesses in an area northeast of Albany in Stearns County. In a funding partnership with the State of Minnesota, Albany Mutual Telephone Association will improve broadband service levels to exceed the 2022 state goal of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload. The all-optical network will provide more opportunity for the creation of new businesses, educational advances and access to healthcare services including wearable technology and home monitoring devices. The total eligible project cost is $1,233,486, with a $616,743 local match.

AT&T has announced investments made in the area. TDS is planning on expansions using federal funds but only for speeds ranging from 25/3 to 4/1. And Mediacom has announced Gig upgrade plans for some areas of Stearns, specifically Belgrade, Brooten, Paynesville and Paynesville Township.

Stearns County has asked local policymakers to make broadband a priority. Although they did hear from Rep Paul Anderson at a regional discussion on broadband hosted by the Blandin Foundation…

Rep Paul Anderson – Representing parts of Pope, Douglas & Stearns – this is not a budget year. Feb forecast came out with $320M surplus; we thought it would be higher. That number may be conservative. But the lower number makes us think. School safety and gun control are big issues – there was a meeting yesterday with standing room only. They are talking about $300 million a year to put an armed officer in each school; mental health counselors might be a use of money. I got a postcard from HughesNet. They talked about 25/3 with 20Gig data and Netflix quality broadband. Wireless has to play a part of any solution in our area. The State grants are great – but it increases costs when you need to pay livable wage. I don’t think we’ll get $50 million this year.

Info on Access:

Speeds % served 2017 % served 2018
25/3 87.58 88.96
100/20 38.01 40.17

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: 64

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.

1 thought on “Stearns County Broadband Profile: current ranking 64

  1. It seems like the schools don’t publish this but… Verizon offers a wifi hot spot with unlimited data through MN public schools for about $35./mo. It works great for students to get their crome books, etc to play videos for class or whatever they want to do. We use it and live 10 miles from the small town of Brooten, Mn and have good service from it.
    It is definately a great option if your family with school children need internet and you don’t have high speed internet available in your rural area.

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