Stearns County ranks 32 (out of 87) for broadband speeds of 100/20: code red

Stearns County could reach the MN speed goals for both 2022 and 2026 with a concerted effort. They have  recent momentum happening in the area; that will help.

Percentage of Served Population by Speed and Date
2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 81.07 40.17 38.01
25/3 (2022 goal) 91.72 88.96 87.58

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Stearns County has benefited from two MN broadband grants:

  • 2017 – Albany Mutual Telephone Association – Two Rivers Area – GRANT $616,743
    Serving serve 121 unserved households and home-based businesses in an area northeast of Albany in Stearns County with service levels to exceed the 2022 state goal of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload.
    Serving 242 unserved households near and around Big Watab Lake in Stearns County with service levels to 1 Gbps.

Stearns County also is in line to  benefit from FCC funding because Midcontinent Communications will receive $719,916 over  ten years to expand services in Stearns County. Also, in June 2019, Stearns County Board met to hear the conclusions of  a Blandin Foundation-supported feasibility study.

The future of the county’s progress toward the MN broadband speeds goals relies, to a great degree, on how that study is received.

Stearns County could benefit from future grants. In 2019, Albany Telephone, Meeker Coop and Arvig  applied to upgrade service in Stearns (That doesn’t mean they will get the grant; they have only applied.)


  • 100/20 ranking: 32 (up from 64)
  • 25/3 ranking: 29
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: no
  • Household density: 40.5
  • 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.

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