St. Louis County ranks 43 (out of 87) for broadband speeds of 100/20: code red

St Louis County has seen great progress toward reaching the MN broadband goals for 2022 and 2026 but they will need to make a concerted effort to reach them.

Percentage of Served Population by Speed and Date
2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 78.20 41.20 38.78
25/3 (2022 goal) 86.23 83.47 82.33

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

In 2010, ARRA funding brought fiber to St Louis County’s neighbor Cook County. And ARRA brought middle mile coverage to the Northeast Service Cooperative (NESC) which brings middle mile service to parts of St. Louis County. But large swaths of the county remain unserved and underserved.

St Louis County has benefited from several grants that have helped bring last mile to the NESC middle mile:

  • 2017 – CenturyLink – Fredenberg Township FTTH Project – GRANT $1,809,312
    Serving 835 unserved households and 17 unserved businesses with fiber-to-the-home in Fredenberg Township near Duluth in St. Louis County with service levels to 1 Gbps.
  • 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 Gigabit service.
  • 2017 – MEDIACOM FAYAL TOWNSHIP – GRANT: $263,345
    Serving 167 unserved households, 3 unserved businesses, and 92 underserved households in Fayal Township, south of Eveleth in St. Louis with service levels to 100 Mbps download by 20 Mbps up.
  • 2014 – Mediacom, Pintar Road
    Award: $137,848. Total project cost: $275,697. Impact: Service to 122 unserved homes and businesses on the southwest edge of the city limits of Hibbing.
  • 2014 – Northeast Service Cooperative – Frontier Communications Corp., Border to Border Phase I
    Award: $1.96 million. Total project cost: $4.35 million. Impact: Service to 877 homes and businesses in St. Louis County, including areas in and around Crane Lake, Alborn, Meadowlands, Brookston, Forbes, Kelsey, Soudan, Kabetogama, Ely and Tower.

St Louis continues to work on broadband. They’ve had some issues with Frontier Communications.  They’ve had updates on various projects from CenturyLink and Paul Bunyan Telephone Company. In June they hosted a county-wide broadband summit. . They heard from farmers who benefit from fiber and local business who needs it and armed with stories of Blandin Foundation supported projects the area, they spoke about the need for county intervention to make broadband happen.

St Louis County could benefit from future grants. In 2019, CenturyLink and Cooperative Light and Power (CLP)  applied to upgrade service in St Louis. (That doesn’t mean they will get the grant; they have only applied.)


  • 100/20 ranking: 38 (up from 82)
  • 25/3 ranking: 43
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 12.4
  • Number of providers: 19


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