Lincoln County Broadband Profile 2020: Red rating: Ranking out 83 of 87

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Rank (from 100/20 megabits per second): 83
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.

Lincoln County: Engaged but needs help

Lincoln County has been active in trying to get better broadband for years; there was a renewed interest going back to 2016 when they realized that the broadband they had was not the broadband they would need for the future. They did a feasibility study and have been working to get funding to make community broadband financially possible.

Broadband Access:

2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 40.42 39.21 39.21 40
25/3 (2022 goal) 60.91 59.7 53.44 54.27

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%
Lincoln 79.0% 71.1% 61.6% 47.3% 2.6%

What we learned in the past:

With help from the Blandin Foundation, Lincoln released a feasibility study in 2018. The report discusses next steps for the county, such as looking for a partner to bring broadband to those areas without it today.

Lincoln has benefited from two state broadband grants:

  • 2015 – MVTV Wireless Middle Mile – Grant award: $808,080
  • 2014 – Interstate Telecommunications Cooperative (ITC), Hendricks Town FTTP – Award: $700,000.

Update from 2020:

Lincoln County was one of 23 communities named a Telecommuter Forward, which indicates an interest in promoting broadband use as well as adoption. But they have also been focused on adoption.

In 2016, Lincoln County started focusing on a county-wide plan with a feasibility study (with the support of the Blandin Foundation). There’s a great divide between western and eastern County and Hendricks and Lake Benton is in another boat entirely. We see this in several counties. County borders rarely match provider customer bases or other assets and barriers.

The feasibility study indicated Fiber to the Premise would cost $8.5 million in eastern Lincoln County. The community was able to go to the provider (ITC) with the budget and (maybe more importantly) maps. The plan included an overbuild of some Frontier areas but did not include Tyler and Ivanhoe. ITC said they were able to $2.5 million and looked at CAF reverse auction. That left the community with $6 million to meet the need. They applied for a Minnesota state grant; they found a way to include Tyler and Ivanhoe, which brought the project to $10 million. Unfortunately, they did not get the funding.

The county decided to move ahead on their own. They are trying to bond for $5 million. The area is fortunate that they have seen expansion in wind industry, which has led to production tax, which could be used for a special project such as broadband.


  • 100/20 Mbps ranking: 83 (down 7)
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 4.7


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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