Winona County Broadband Profile 2020: Yellow rating: Ranking out 24 of 87

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Rank (from 100/20 megabits per second): 24
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.

Winona County: pretty good access and needs a push for ubiquitous

Winona County has been focused on broadband for years; they were part of the Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities (MIRC) starting in 2010, a Blandin-led and federal (ARRA) funded broadband adoption project.

The have benefited from past grant funded projects and will benefit from a project that received MN Border to Border funding in the last round. Hopefully that will help spur an interest in greater expansion of 100/20 Mbps broadband.

Broadband Access:

2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 87.47 86.43 86.31 81.17
25/3 (2022 goal) 88.09 86.58 86.48 92.13

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%
Winona 88.7% 81.4% 71.3% 56.2% 1.8%

What we learned in the past:

Winona County was part of the Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities (MIRC) starting in 2010, a Blandin-led and federal (ARRA) funded digital inclusion project. So there has been a focus on broadband for a decade.

Winona has benefited from several broadband grants:

  • 2015 – Hiawatha Broadband Communications – Winona County Whitewater Area – Grant Award: $247,000
  • 2015 – Winona County Hiawatha Broadband Communications – Cedar Valley Area – Grant award: $314,450

Update from 2020:

Winona County is looking at options, such as wireless for broadband deployment. They have also been working on adoption; Winona Engage created a Facebook page to help the community stay connected during the COVID shut down. Within 48 hours, they have 3,000 members.

Winona County will benefit from a MN Border to Border grant project funding in the last round.

  • 2019: AcenTek – Rural Houston Exchange FTTH – GRANT $2,895,318
    This last mile project will upgrade approximately 485 unserved and 424 underserved locations in areas of Houston and Winona Counties. In a funding partnership with the State of Minnesota and Houston County, AcenTek 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 bring the benefits of high speed broadband to the many farms in the project area, enable employees in healthcare to work remotely, and allow students to be more successful.
  • Total eligible project cost is $9,651,059
  • Local match is $6,755,741


  • 100/20 Mbps ranking: 24 (no change)
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 30.4


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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