Otter Tail County Broadband Profile 2020: Yellow rating: Ranking out 64 of 87

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Rank (from 100/20 megabits per second): 64
Code: Yellow

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.

Otter Tail County: recent progress but needs more

Otter Tail County is seeing steady, incremental improvement to their broadband access, likely because they have also benefited from a number of MN Border to Border grants. And they are in line to benefit from grants in the last round too. They have a long way to go to meet the 2026 goal, but they keep moving forward.

Broadband Access:

2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 65.55 35.34 2.36 1.75
25/3 (2022 goal) 75.02 92.93 89.56 59.34

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%
Otter Tail 85.2% 73.3% 69.1% 51.9% 3.6%

What we learned in the past:

Otter Tail has benefited from several MN broadband grants:

  • 2017 – Arvig – Pelican Rapids rural non-ACAM – GRANT $633,642
  • 2017 – Otter Tail Telcom LLC – Red Oak Drive – GRANT $173,683
  • 2017 – WCTA (West Central Telephone Association) – Wadena Rural Phase III – GRANT $874,581
  • 2016 – WCTA WADENA RURAL NORTH — GRANT: $718,850
  • 2015 – Otter Tail Telcom Fergus Falls 864 – Hwy 59 – Grant award: $295,432
  • 2015 – Otter Tail Telcom Hwy 59/94 PRT to POM – Grant award: $164,207
  • 2014 – Otter Tail Telcom, Stuart Lake – Award: $105,364.
  • 2014 – Otter Tail Telcom, 245th – Award: $108,553.

Update from 2020:

Otter Tail will see improvement with two Border to Border projects awarded in the last round:

2019: Otter Tail Telcom LLC – Long and Fish Lakes Project – GRANT $156,954

This last mile project will serve 70 unserved households and 18 unserved businesses, telecommuters, and farms in the Elizabeth Township area of Otter Tail County. In a funding partnership with the State of Minnesota and Otter Tail County, Otter Tail Telcom will improve broadband service levels up to 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload, meeting Minnesota’s 2026 state speed goal. Building a fiber-to-the-premise network that provides advanced, high-speed broadband services to households, businesses and farms in the proposed grant area improves access to critical school e-learning applications while also making agricultural operations more efficient and enhancing crop production through enabled precision agriculture tools. The broadband network will improve access to rural health care resources, will stimulate a more robust local area economy and improve public safety through IPAWS.

  • Total eligible cost is $448,440
  • Local match is $291,486
  • 2019: Arvig (Loretel Systems, Inc.) – Cormorant Lakes Area Project – GRANT $430,780
    This middle and last mile project will upgrade approximately 481 unserved locations near Pelican Lake, Lake Ida, Turtle Lake, and Big Cormorant Lake in Otter Tail, Becker, and Clay Counties. In a funding partnership with the State of Minnesota and Otter Tail County, Arvig will improve broadband service levels up to 1 Gbps download and 1 Gbps upload, exceeding the 2022 and 2026 state speed goals. These investments will improve quality of life and business development opportunities.
  • Total eligible project cost is $1,230,800
  • Local match is $800,020



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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