Lake County Broadband Profile 2020: Green rating: Ranking out 15 of 87

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Rank (from 100/20 megabits per second): 15
Code: Green

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.

Lake County: ARRA award may have been bumpy, but they are well served

Lake County received an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) award in 2010 to build Fiber to the Home (FTTH). That grant came with a lot of bumps in the road, but now more than 90 percent of the very remote county has access to 100/20 Mbps broadband. The county continues to make strides in broadband use. They probably need an extra push to get the remaining households covered by the 2026 goal, but they are close.

Broadband Access:

2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 93.39 93.4 94.3 94.32
25/3 (2022 goal) 93.85 93.86 94.3 94.32

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%
Lake 87.7% 76.9% 68.4% 54.9% 2.6%

What we learned in the past:

In 2010, Lake County received an ARRA award of $66.3 million to improve broadband access in their area; about $10 million of the award was an outright grant; the rest was a low-interest loan. There were bumps along the road to getting fiber to the community but now they are well served.

Lake County was a 2013-2014 Blandin Broadband Community (BBC) and they were featured in a report on the community return on public investment in broadband, which found $83,418,170 investments had been made in the community; using formulas devised to measure impact of broadband access, Lake County has the potential to realize from this investment:

  • A combined household economic benefit of broadband of $13,695,550
  • A combined increase in residential real estate value of $38,547,421

Update from 2020:

We continue to see improvements in broadband access and adoption in Lake County:

  • Wilderness health, a collaborative of independent health providers for rural communities in Lake County, was recently awarded a grant worth nearly $800,000. The grant will be used to support the development of a telehealth program to offer mental health and other services to be used within its ten health system network.
  • 911 Service redundancy was finally achieved through a partnership with CenturyLink, The Northeast Service Cooperative, True North Broadband, and the State of Minnesota, assisted by Cook County MIS, the Sheriff’s Office, and Emergency Management. The result: no more County-wide 911 outages!

Last Fall, the Blandin Foundation Courageous Leadership was posthumously awarded to Paul Bergman, whose vision for a broadband-enabled future for Lake County brought modern access to the Internet to the residents of the county he loved.


  • 100/20 Mbps ranking: 15 (down 1)
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: no
  • Household density: 1.6


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 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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