Renville County Broadband Profile 2020: Red rating: Ranking out 65 of 87

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Rank (from 100/20 megabits per second): 65
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.

Renville County: Hovering near the bottom of the ranking list

Renville County has been working on better broadband for more than 10 years. They are a part of the original RS Fiber team. They have benefited from a number of MN Border to Border grants in the past and they will benefit from two more projects that were awarded funds in the last round.

They are focused on broadband but are stalled in getting ubiquitous broadband.

Broadband Access:

2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 63.23 59.06 51.78 50.43
25/3 (2022 goal) 67.74 61.9 55.06 59.27

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%
Redwood 83.4% 71.7% 65.5% 46.0% 6.0%

What we learned in the past:

Renville County and Sibley County are original members of RS Fiber. Ten years ago, residents were getting fed up with poor connectivity. To address the issue, a Joint Powers Board was formed that ultimately included all seven cities in Sibley County as well as the city of Fairfax in Renville County. In the fall of 2012, concerned about the project’s plan for how to structure the project’s debt service reserve fund, the Sibley Board of Commissioners, in a 3-2 vote, passed a resolution to withdraw from the JPB. Undaunted, immediately following this vote, a group of farmers walked across the street and in an impromptu meeting, vowed to continue the effort by “going back to their roots” as one of them said, and form a coop.

Renville County has benefited from three state grants:

  • 2016 – RENVILLE COUNTY HBC & RS FIBER – GRANT: $807,966
  • 2015 – MVTV Wireless Middle Mile – Grant award: $808,080
  • 2014 – R-S Fiber Cooperative, FTTH Project – Award: $1 million.

Update from 2020:

Renville County will benefit from two MN Border to Border grants awarded in the last round:

  • 2019: Nuvera Communications, Inc. – Hutchinson W Project – GRANT $346,282
    This last mile project will serve 43 households, 11 businesses, and 55 farms in areas of Cedar Mills Township in Meeker County, and Boon Lake and Brookfield Townships in Renville County. In a funding partnership with the State of Minnesota, Nuvera Communications, Inc. will improve broadband service levels up to 1 Gbps download and 1 Gbps upload, exceeding the 2022 and 2026 state speed goals. This fiber-to-the-premises network will provide reliable, affordable, high quality broadband to rural farms, businesses, and homes. Residents will also have increased access to health care and education, and the opportunity to telecommute or start their own businesses.
  • Total eligible cost is $910,704
  • Local match is $564,422
  • 2019: Midco (Midcontinent Communications) – Renville Project – GRANT $230,835
    This last mile project will upgrade approximately 644 unserved households and 33 unserved businesses, farms and community anchor institutions in areas of the town of Renville in Renville County. In a funding partnership with the State of Minnesota, Midco will improve broadband service levels up to 1 Gbps download and 20 Mbps upload, meeting or exceeding the 2022 and 2026 state speed goals. The broadband network will improve access to e-learning applications, and rural health care resources; make agricultural operations more efficient; and will stimulate a more robust local area economy.
  • The total eligible cost is $923,338
  • Local match is $692,503


  • 100/20 Mbps ranking: 65 (down 3)
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 6.6


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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