Wright County Broadband Profile 2020: Yellow rating: Ranking out 32 of 87

Green=served Purple=underesrved Red=unserved

Rank (from 100/20 megabits per second): 32
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.

Wright County: stalled at 80 percent coverage

Wright County is home to Monticello, one of the much-discussed municipal broadband networks. Monticello built their own fiber network – but in process, the incumbent also built a fiber network and even sued the city. But it has worked out in the end, as reported by Monticello’s City Planner Jeff O’Neill on Munitnetworks’ podcast (September 2020).

Wright County has benefited from MN Border to Border grants in the past and they will benefit again as a project in their area received funding in the last grant award. Hopefully that will be enough to kick start an effort for great expansion.

Broadband Access:

2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 82.51 81.02 80.61 29.26
25/3 (2022 goal) 89.69 91.07 87.89 81.17

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%
Wright 91.7% 83.8% 79.6% 62.4% 3.9%

What we learned in the past:

Wright County is home to Monticello, one of the much-discussed municipal broadband networks. Monticello built their own fiber network – but in process the incumbent also built a fiber network and even sued the city.

Wright County has benefited from a broadband grant:

  • 2017 – Midco (Midcontinent Communications) – Annandale East – GRANT $537,050

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.

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

  • Meeker Coop. Light & Power Assoc. (Vibrant Broadband) – Lake Louisa/Lake Marie Project – GRANT $297,940
    This last mile project will upgrade approximately 206 unserved locations in rural South Haven in Wright County. In a funding partnership with the State of Minnesota, Vibrant Broadband will improve broadband service levels up to 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload, meeting or exceeding the 2022 and 2026 state speed goals. Building a fiber-to-the-premise high-speed broadband services network that will assist households, businesses and farms in the proposed grant area by providing access to critical school e-learning applications, making agricultural operations more efficient and enhancing crop production through enabled precision agriculture tools, and providing effective telemedicine options that offset rising health care costs. The broadband network will improve the lives of all the citizens of the area, lessening the “technological divide” between urban and rural areas.
  • The total eligible cost is $993,134
  • Local match is $695,194



  • Districts: CD 6
    Senate: 15, 18, 29, 30
    House: 15B, 18A, 29A, 29B, 30A, 30B
  • Find your reps

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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