Chisago County ranks 51 (out of 87) for access to 100/20 broadband: code yellow

Chisago County seems unlikely to meet the 2022 or 2026 MN speed goals but Chicago County has also been known to form creative partnerships and they have been making a concerted effort for better broadband. They are increasing their access but not as fast as other counties.

Percentage of Served Population by Speed and Date
Chisago 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 71.26 69.53 65.25
25/3 (2022 goal) 83.85 73.27 65.25

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Chisago County was a 2015-2016 Blandin Broadband Community; they have been working to encourage broadband use, including by conducting a county-wide broadband  market survey in 2016; communities in Chisago have used that survey or similar surveys to create MN state broadband grant applications. Working at the community level rather than county-wide  has opened the door to working with incumbent providers.

In 2018, a Blandin Foundation report looked at the impact of Federal CAF II funding in two towns in Chisago, Isanti and Kanabec Counties: Lindstrom and Braham. CAF II money went to qualifying providers to subsidize network deployments that can deliver service of at least 10/1. The study found that while some areas were upgraded beyond that speed; some remain at speeds that do not meet the 2022 nor 2026 MN broadband goals. Chisago found a way, in at least some areas, to encourage providers to build to higher speeds – by pursuing state grants that require higher speed buildouts.

Chisago County has  benefited from two MN broadband grants:

2017 – CenturyLink – Fish Lake Township FTTH Project – GRANT $1,833,724

  • Serving 919 unserved households, 7 unserved businesses, and one unserved community anchor institution in Fish Lake Township in rural Chisago County. In a funding partnership leveraging federal (CAF II), state grant and local township funding, CenturyLink will improve broadband service levels to 1 Gbps down and 1 Gbps up, exceeding the 2026 state speed goal.
    Serving 584 unserved households, 10 unserved businesses, and 2 community anchor institutions in rural Sunrise Township in Chisago County, MN. In a funding partnership with the State of Minnesota and Sunrise Township, CenturyLink will leverage CAFII funding from the FCC to bring 1 Gigabit service to two-thirds of the township, exceeding the 2026 state speed goal of 100 Mbps by 20 Mbps.

Both grant projects were unique in that they used state funding to leverage CAF II money to reach state speed goals (100/20) versus CAF II speed requirements (10/1). Sunrise built a model of citizen engagement, where the community came to the providers with a proposal and community investment.

Chisago could get to full coverage incrementally, but they’ll have to keep at it.

Chisago County could benefit from future grants. In 2019, CenturyLink and CTC applied to upgrade service in Franconia Township in Chisago COunty. (That doesn’t mean they will get the grant; they have only applied.)


  • 100/20 ranking: 51 (down from 32)
  • 25/3 ranking: 47
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 44
  • Number of providers: 7


  • Chisago Countyhas worked with the Blandin Foundation
  • There is a matrix of Minnesota broadband adoption projects conducted with the support of Blandin Foundation; it includes projects from this area.
  • Districts: CD 8
    Senate: 32 & 39
    House: 32A, 32B, 39A
  • Find your reps

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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