Rice County Broadband Profile 2020: Yellow rating: Ranking out 31 of 87

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Rank (from 100/20 megabits per second): 31
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.

Rice County: Hovering near the bottom of the ranking list

Rice County policymakers recently talked about the importance of broadband in their area. They were joined by BEVCOMM, who explained that a current project is poised to boost broadband speeds in northwest Rice County, northeast Le Sueur County and southern Scott County, an area that includes 417 households, 88 farms, 59 businesses, and 4 “community anchor institutions.”

That will help them get to ubiquitous broadband, but they will need more.

Broadband Access:

2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 82.95 82.43 32.63 48.85
25/3 (2022 goal) 93.75 92.46 93.2 97.93

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%
Rice 88.0% 78.8% 73.4% 57.2% 4.8%

What we learned in the past:

Rice County saw an increase in broadband coverage in 2018.

Update from 2020:

The Faribault Daily News gathered views of broadband in Rice County from a variety of perspectives, including a local provider…

In western Rice County, Blue Earth-based BEVCOMM is working to expand and improve its services. CEO Bill Eckels said that the company recently completed an improved network for Morristown residents and is in the process of hooking them up to it.

BEVCOMM recently purchased Lonsdale Telephone Co., which serves Lonsdale and Morristown. In January, the governor announced that BEVCOMM has been awarded more than $2.5 million in grant funding for three separate broadband projects.

Roughly two thirds of that funding went to a project that will boost broadband speeds in northwest Rice County, northeast Le Sueur County and southern Scott County — an area which includes 417 households, 88 farms, 59 businesses, and 4 “community anchor institutions.”


  • 100/20 Mbps ranking: 31 (down 3)
  • Has worked with Blandin: no
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: no
  • Household density: 43.2


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 (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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