Benton County Broadband Profile 2021: Yellow Rating: Ranking out 24 of 87

Rank: 24
Code:  Yellow
(See Blandin Foundation interactive map)

Benton County: big leap two years ago, incremental since then

Two years ago, Benton County moved the broadband needle from 26 to 88 percent for access to 100/20 Mbps after benefitting from two MN Border to Border grants. Change has been minimal since that time.

In September, they were part of a regional broadband conference, as part of the annual Blandin Broadband conference. Hopefully that will spur greatest interest and movement forward.

Benton will benefit from a MN State Grant awarded in 2021:

  • Benton Cooperative Telephone Company – Ramey Phase 2 Project – GRANT $338,011 (Mille Lacs County) This last mile project will serve 119 unserved locations in the Ramey telephone exchange located in portions of Lakin and Mount Morris townships in Morrison County and a small portion of Dailey and Page townships located in Mille Lacs County.

Benton receives a yellow ranking because they are stalled. They are certainly better off than many counties but to reach ubiquitous coverage, they will need a push like they had leading up to 2019 improvement. Projection for allocation of American Recovery Project ARP funds in Benton is $7,930,170; broadband is one possible use. Maybe that will inspire them.

Broadband Access:

2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 90.25 89.36 88.18 25.83 14.28
25/3 (2022 goal) 92.88 92.05 91.47 87.49 87.61

Computer Access:

County Households with computer …with desktop or laptop …with ONLY  smartphone …with a tablet et al
State of MN 93.6% 80.6% 7.7% 63.8%
Benton 90.7 76.3 7.1 55.5

Past Grants:

  • 2017 – Benton Cooperative Telephone Company – Rice Ramey – GRANT $765,015
  • 2017 – Palmer Wireless – Duelm Hwy 95 – GRANT $162,814
  • 2014-CenturyLink Foley, Benton County–Balkan Township – Award: $382,883.
  • 2020:Benton Cooperative Telephone Company – Ramey Phase I – GRANT $936,759



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, MN County Profiles 2021 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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s