Cook County ranks 13 (out of 87) for access to 100/20 broadband: code green

Cook County is close to meeting the 2022 state speed goals and seemingly on track to meet the 2026 goals. The only concern is that the coverage has not changed in three years. They need a little push.

Percentage of Served Population by Speed and Date
Cook 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 94.50 94.50 94.50
25/3 (2022 goal) 98.8 98.87 97.56

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Cook County suffered for years because all telecommunications depended on a single fiber line.  As late as 2008, dial-up was still the only choice for many residents, businesses and visitors. A grant from Blandin Foundation and a matching contribution from the County, along with additional support from Arrowhead Electric Coop, funded a feasibility study to examine the problem and potential solutions.

Based on the results of the feasibility study, the Cook County Board of Commissioners took up the idea of developing a fiber network for the county’s residents, businesses and government. The Board passed an ordinance in December 2009 declaring that a broadband network was in the best interests of the County and created the Fiber Optic Network Commission. Cook County  formed a partnership with Arrowhead Electric Cooperative, which applied for and was awarded over $16 million in federal stimulus grants and low interest loans to build a fiber-to-the-home broadband network throughout Cook County.

In addition, Cook County awarded Arrowhead Cooperative a $4 million grant from the 1% sales tax fund.

(Cook County was featured in CoBank’s report in the last year Making the Move to Broadband: Rural Electric Co-ops Detail Their Experience.)

Cook County clearly benefits from the community’s early activism,  but  they will still need to  push to reach the 2026 speed goals. Cook County was part of  Blandin Foundation’s Minnesota Intelligent Rural Community Program in 2009 – 2012.


  • 100/20 ranking: 13 (down 3 places)
  • 25/3 ranking: 20
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: no
  • Household density: .7
  • Number of providers: 3


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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