White Earth Reservation Broadband Profile: large reservation needs better service

Earlier this year, the Office of Broadband Development released data and maps on broadband coverage of tribal areas. The numbers are high level or maybe more reflective than exact but it’s a great start on getting a handle on what’s happening in tribal areas. I thought I’d do a profile of each area, much like I have done for Minnesota Counties. Here is White Earth Reservation

Info on Access/Households:

  • Number of households (2010 estimate): 3529
  • Percent Wireline Broadband 2022 speed goal (25/3): 84.67
  • Percent Wireline Broadband 2026 speed goal (100/20): 13.57

White Earth is the largest reservation in Minnesota. It crosses into Mahnomen, Clearwater, Polk and Becker. I thought it might be most helpful to look at the reservation by county (because I can get more info by county), the providers in each area and the very high level (by looking at the map) quality of service.

County Mostly served/
Providers in the area
Becker underserved CenturyLink, Paul Bunyan, West Central Telephone
Clearwater served Garden Valley, Paul Bunyan
Mahnomen unserved CenturyLink
Polk served Garden Valley, Halstad, Midcontinent


In 2010, Garden Valley received a $34 million loan from the USDA and in 2015 a $12 million loan from the USDA for fiber deployment. In 2017, Garden Valley received a $1.3 million loan from a MN Border to Border Broadband grant specifically to serve areas in Mahnomen County, including portions of White Earth Reservation…

This last mile project will serve 214 unserved households, 17 unserved businesses, and 7 unserved community anchor institutions in Bejou and surrounding rural areas within Mahnomen County, including portions of the White Earth Reservation in northwestern Minnesota.

White Earth has long had an interest in broadband. In 2009, they unsuccessfully applied for ARRA Stimulus funds serve 315 households, total population 534. Also serving all community anchors including critical facilities, medical, public safety services, tribal government buildings, and the school will be served. In 2014, White Earth got $75,000 develop a program to use e-health to promote health and improve care coordination.  Also in 2014, they were part of a grant-funded project to build a network of high-definition video connections linking five institutions for education and telehealth.

Learn more about White Earth reservation demographics from Center for Indian Country Development.

This entry was posted in Tribal Profile 2019 by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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