Beltrami County: ranks 6 for access to 10 (out of 87) 0/20: code green

Beltrami County is poised to meet the MN speed goals for both 2022 and 2026. In fact, they have been celebrating their first place ranking (for access to Gig speeds) since the latest maps came out in summer of 2019.

Percentage of Served Population by Speed and Date
Beltrami 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 98.79 96.30 96.35
25/3 (2022 goal) 99.41 99.40 99.36

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Beltrami County is lucky enough to be home to Paul Bunyan Communications. a local cooperative that has chosen to upgrade their area to Gigabit speeds. Paul Bunyan also is  active in the community, including by sponsoring tech-intensive events such as  an annual Gigazone Gaming competition, which bring cash prizes and lots of gamers to the area each year.

Last year, Beltrami was included in a Blandin Foundation research  report on the community return on public investment in broadband, noting the following investments have been made in the community:

  • $1.4 million to buy and renovate the Historic Mayflower Building into the LaunchPad supported in part by Greater Bemidji, Northwest Minnesota Foundation, USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant and Paul Bunyan Communications
  • $32,000 in Broadband Innovation Grants from Blandin Foundation
  • Total: $1,432,000

Using formulas devised to measure impact of broadband access, from these investments Beltrami County has the potential to realize:

  • A combined household economic benefit of broadband of $38,631,700 annually
  • A combined increase in residential real estate value of $102,593,266

Beltrami has not benefited from MN state grants; they have not received grants from the Blandin Foundation. They are an example of a community that benefits from fully invested provider. There are many ingredients that can help a community get better broadband – an invested provider trumps them all – but it takes intentional  community effort – like we’ve seen in Beltrami – to maximize those benefits.

In September 2019, Senator Klobuchar’s staff held a listening session in Beltrami County. In general, people were happy with their broadband, but one of the local providers complained about faulty mapping. Showing some communities as served, as is the case in parts of Baxter, when in fact they are not, is a barrier to seeking public investment to address those needs.


  • 100/20 ranking: 6 (up 2)
  • 25/3 ranking: 7 (down 1)
  • Has worked with Blandin: no
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: no
  • Household density: 5.5
  • Number of providers: 7


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. I’m looking at progress toward the 2022 (25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up) and 2026 (100 Mbps down and 20 Mbps up) and will code each:

  • Red (yikes)
  • Yellow (warning)
  • Green (good shape)
This entry was posted in County Profile 2019, Green 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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