Itasca County ranks 27 (out of 87) for broadband speeds of 200/10: code yellow

Itasca County seems like it might be poised to meet the MN broadband speed goals, but they need a concerted effort. They have several providers in the area and they benefit from being home to the Blandin Foundation, which helps with investment and raising awareness.

Percentage of Served Population by Speed and Date
Itasca 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 83.06 79.44 76.35
25/3 (2022 goal) 93.12 86.15 78.92

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Itasca has been working on broadband for many years. They were part of the Blandin Broadband Communities (BBC) initiative before 2014. About the same time, Connect Itasca started surveying residents about broadband.

Itasca has benefited from several MN broadband grants:

  • 2017 – Paul Bunyan Communications – North Central Fiber – GRANT $802,620
    Serving 657 unserved households, 29 unserved businesses, and 5 unserved community institutions, and 130 underserved households, 13 underserved businesses, and 1 underserved community institution near the communities of Park Rapids, Bigfork, and Side Lake, MN, to locations in St. Louis, Itasca, and Hubbard Counties with services exceeding the 2026 state and current federal speed goals.
    Serving 262 unserved households and 6 unserved businesses in Harris Township in Itasca County with services at 100 Mbps download by 20 Mbps upload.
    Serving 785 unserved households, 26 unserved businesses, 2 unserved community anchor institutions and 143 underserved households and 2 underserved businesses in rural portions of Itasca, Hubbard, and Becker counties. Combined, these areas are home to an estimated 2,750 people and nearly 50 small businesses.
  • 2015 – Paul Bunyan Central Itasca County Fiber
    Grant Award: $1,980,000
    Serving 1193 households, 53 businesses and 5 community anchor institutions.

Itasca County is fortunate in that there are several providers in the area that currently offer Gigabit services. They need to work with providers to extend or expand their services.


  • 100/20 ranking: 27 (down from 23)
  • 25/3 ranking: 22
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 6.4
  • Number of providers: 10


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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