Polk County ranks 19 (out of 87) for broadband speeds of 100/20: code green

Based as much on their recent momentum as on their numbers, Polk County could very well meet the speed goals for 2022 and 2026; their odds are probably higher for 2026.

Percentage of Served Population by Speed and Date
Polk 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 88.35 85.39 80.89
25/3 (2022 goal) 93.11 93 91.74

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Polk County has benefited from three state broadband grants:

    Serving 51 unserved households in Kertsonville and Onstad Townships in Polk with service levels to 1 Gigabit.
  • 2015 – Halstad Telephone Company – Gentilly Township
    Grant award: $424,460
    Halstad Telephone Company will build out FTTH infrastructure in Gentilly Township in Polk County to provide state speed goal broadband service and above to 114 households, 20 businesses, and 1 community anchor institution in the Village of Gentilly and Gentilly Township (except for the NW corner of the township which is served already). The total project costs are $931,000; the remaining $504,540 (54 percent local match) will be provided by Halstad Telephone Company.
  • 2014 – Halstad Telephone Co., Halstad Tract MN 11902500 FTTH
    Award: $1.65 million. Total project cost: $3.3 million. Impact: Service to 249 unserved locations in Polk County.

In 2018, Polk County also benefited when  Garden Valley Telephone Company received a loan of $20,360,000 from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)  and  when Red River Valley Cooperative Power Association received a $8,000,000 USDA loan to improve infrastructure for a smart grid system.  They also will receive almost $2 million in FCC funding over the next 10 years.

While Polk County has a way to go to meet the 2026 goals, they have a lot of activity working in that direction. It may take even more activity but it’s easier to build on growing momentum.

Polk County could benefit from future grants. In 2019, Halstad Telephone Company and Garden Valley Telephone Company applied to upgrade service in Polk. (That doesn’t mean they will get the grant; they have only applied.)


  • 100/20 ranking: 19 (down from 16)
  • 25/3 ranking: 23
  • Has worked with Blandin
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant
  • Household density: 6.4
  • Number of providers: 6


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 (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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