Cottonwood County ranks 59 (out of 87) for access to 100/20 broadband: code red

Cottonwood County is not poised to meet the 2022 or 2026 MN state speed goals. Prior to 2018 they made great progress toward  the 2026 goal, but they have seen little progress  since then.

Percentage of Served Population by Speed and Date
Cottonwood 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 66.67 66.34 19.24
25/3 (2022 goal) 74.17 67.89 60.52

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Windom, the county seat, participated in Blandin Foundation’s 2009-2012 Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities Program. Frustrated with poor internet connectivity, in 2004 the residents of Windom voted in favor of a municipal network, and construction of the fiber-to-the-home system began in 2004.  The Institute for Local Self Reliance has estimated a yearly community benefit from WindomNet of over $400,000.

Cottonwood has worked with the Blandin Foundation. Cottonwood County has benefited from two state broadband grants:

    Serviging 368 unserved households, 29 unserved businesses, and 7 unserved community anchor institutions in the city of Westbrook in Cottonwood County in southwest Minnesota.
  • 2015 – MVTV Wireless Middle Mile
    Grant award: $808,080
    A Middle Mile broadband infrastructure buildout to upgrade backhaul capacity between site locations within 20 southwestern Minnesota counties that will improve services to state speed goal levels and above to 6,000 households and businesses that are current MVTV customers, with leverage possibility of 29,000 more. The counties are: Blue Earth, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac Qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, Meeker, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Pipestone, Rock, Redwood, Renville, Sibley Swift, Watonwan, and Yellow Medicine.

In 2018 they also benefited from a partnership between SDN Communications and the Southwest West Central (SWWC) Service Cooperative building a fiber-based internet service that will connect  more than 30 school districts, including Cottonwood.

They will need to make a concerted effort to make the 2026 goal, but they have done it before so they may be able to succeed.


  • 100/20 ranking: 59 (down 21 places)
  • 25/3 ranking: 68
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 7.5
  • 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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s