Freeborn County Broadband Profile 2020: Red Rating: Ranking out 27 of 87

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Rank (from 100/20 megabits per second): 27
Code: Red

Annually, Blandin Foundation pulls together data from the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development and broadband news to gauge progress toward the state broadband goals (25 megabits per second download/3 Mbps upload by 2022 and 100 Mbps/20 Mbps by 2026). Leaders can use this information to improve broadband access and use in their communities. To see how the state is doing overall, or to compare counties, visit the Blandin Foundation interactive map. Or check out past years’ reports: 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Freeborn County: Stalled access at 84 percent access

Freeborn County’s broadband upgrade and expansion seems to have stalled. There is a recent change in a local provider; another provider getting some ongoing financial support but otherwise little seems to be brewing on the horizon. To meet the State speed goals, the community may need to become more active.

Broadband Access:

2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 84.51 83.88 34.18 94.59
25/3 (2022 goal) 87.94 87.92 84.31 99.44

Computer Access:

County Households with computer …with desktop or laptop …with a smartphone …with a tablet et al …with other
State of MN 90.3% 81.1% 76.5% 59.3% 3.5%
Freeborn 85.1% 71.2% 66.2% 52.6% 6.3%

What we learned in the past:

Freeborn has benefited from three MN broadband grants:

  • 2017 – BEVCOMM (Cannon Valley Telephone) – Freeborn Southwest Rural Final – GRANT $122,460
  • 2015 – BEVCOMM Cannon Valley Telecom – Rural Freeborn Fiber-to-the-Premises Project – Grant award: $149,625

Freeborn is also getting almost $2 million in FCC funding but that is over the next 10 years.

Update from 2020:

Part of Freeborn County was served by Jaguar, which was acquired by MetroNet in July (2020). MetroNet claims they will invest $150 million to grow their Minnesota market.

The DHS/MNIT owned-and-operated telepresence network provides secure, encrypted, HIPAA compliant connections to over 6,000 users South Central Minnesota. Spurred by COVID, Freeborn is one of several counties that have agree to extend use of the network to serve more people via telepresense, which indicates an interest in expanding use of broadband as well as deployment.


  • 100/20 Mbps ranking: 27 (down 2)
  • Has worked with Blandin: no
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: no
  • Household density: 18.2


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 MN County Profiles 2020 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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