Benton County: ranks 20 (out of 87) for access to 100/20: code yellow

The “most improved” award goes to Benton County. They went from 26 percent access to 100/20 in 2018 to 88 percent access. They still need to make a concerted effort to meet the 2022 and 2026 goals, but most of the people with access have good access (100/20) and they had good momentum – unfortunately, we haven’t noted much activity in the last year.

Percentage of Served Population by Speed and Date
Benton 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 88.18 25.83 14.28
25/3 (2022 goal) 91.47 87.49 87.61

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Benton County participated in Blandin Foundation’s federally-funded (American Recovery and Reconstruction Act) Minnesota Intelligent Rural Community (MIRC) program from 2009-2012.  They have been strong with wireless connectivity, but it seems as  the grants they have received have spurred significant progress towards the o 2026 speed goals.

Benton has benefited from several MN broadband grants:

2017 – Benton Cooperative Telephone Company – Rice Ramey – GRANT $765,015
Serving 250 unserved households and 73 unserved businesses in the area northeast of Rice in Benton and Morrison Counties with improved broadband service levels that meet or exceed the 2026 state goal of 100 Mbps download by 20 Mbps upload. This includes Langola, Graham and sections 5 and 6 of Mayhew Lake Townships, all located in Benton County.

2017 – Palmer Wireless – Duelm Hwy 95 – GRANT $162,814
Serving 60 unserved households and 21 unserved businesses near the town of Duelm in southern Benton County, using Fiber to the Home technology capable of delivering 1 Gbps speeds up and down. In a funding partnership with the State of Minnesota, Palmer Wireless will upgrade its wireless customers, and improve broadband service levels for others along the route, through a fiber network capable of meeting and exceeding the 2026 state speed goal.

2014- CenturyLink Foley, Benton County–Balkan Township
Award: $382,883. Total project cost: $995,977. Impact: Service to 162 unserved households, 10 businesses, several community facilities.


  • 100/20 ranking: 20 (up from 75!)
  • 25/3 ranking: 31
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 36.5
  • Number of providers: 9


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, Yellow 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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