Cass County ranks 68 (out of 87) for access to 100/20 broadband: code red

Cass County seems unlikely to meet either the 2022 or 2026 broadband speed goals. They’ve seen improvement each year, but it’s incremental at best.

Percentage of Served Population by Speed and Date
Cass 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 51.61 35.92 34.07
25/3 (2022 goal) 88.02 77.58 66.92

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Cass County was a Blandin Broadband Community as  part of Region 5 Development Commission (the Resilient Region).

Cass County benefited from two MN state grants:

  • 2016 – TDS TELECOM CASS & CROW WING COUNTIES — GRANT: $3,000,000Serving 3459 unserved households, 62 unserved businesses, and 4 community anchor institutions in Cass and Crow Wing counties in north central Minnesota including Backus, Hackensack, Ideal Corners, Pequot Lakes, Pine River, and Woman Lake. In a funding partnership with the State of Minnesota, TDS Telecom (dba Arvig Telephone Company) will improve unserved levels to the 2022 state speed goal of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload.
  • 2014 – Consolidated Telephone Cooperative, Region 5 Virtual Highway Project
    Award: $2 million. Total project cost: $4.22 million. Impact: Service to 247 unserved and 90 underserved premises in Cass, Crow Wing and Morrison counties.

One issue, is that the 2016 grant aimed for 25/3 speeds so that won’t move the needle much. Cass County is making improvements. In September 2018, Paul Bunyan announced Gigazone upgrades in Cass County and the most recent maps were created in December. They need to continue putting the pressure on providers.

In September 2019, Senator Klobcuhar’s staff held a listening session in Walker. Paul Bunyan, a local provider, talked about what would help them extend their service like being able to provider cable TV services. Representatives from Leech Lake reservation spoke about their need for better broadband.

Cass County could benefit from future grants. In 2019, WTCA has applied to upgrade service in Cass. (That doesn’t mean they will get the grant; they have only applied.)


  • 100/20 ranking: 68 (up 2 from last year)
  • 25/3 ranking: 37 (up from 50)
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 4.9
  • Number of providers: 13


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, Red 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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