Carlton County Broadband Profile 2021: Red Rating: Ranking out 79 of 87

Rank: 79
Code:  Red
(See Blandin Foundation interactive map)

Carlton County: Improvement will be expense, but they are looking

Carlton County is one of several counties that is served primary with one national provider, who may not be as invested locally as a local provider or cooperative. They recognize the need for improvement; they need to find a way to make it happen.

Their access to broadband hasn’t changed substantially since we have been tracking. County Commissioners have recognized the importance of better broadband. Local media has also written about the need for better broadband, especially since the pandemic. Projected allocation of American Recovery Project ARP funds in Carlton is $6,956,960; broadband is one possible use.

Unfortunately, local recognition of need is not enough to make a difference when a community is served by a provider that is not engaged. Perhaps, the advent of federal funding (ARP and Capital Project Funds) might spur interest in providers that haven’t been interested or spur a community to look at solutions outside of their community. But that is a hard lift and therefore they maintain their red code.

They may benefit from intervention, such as the Blandin Accelerate program, a process to spur community acquisition and deployment of federal and state broadband funds, to find an alternative solution.

Broadband Access:

2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 52.08 52.02 47.57 58.22 52.32
25/3 (2022 goal) 72.79 75.17 71.71 67.29 62.74

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%
Carlson 87.4 72.8 7.5 55.3

Past grants:

  • 2017 – Carlton County w/ Frontier – Phase I: Cromwell/Kettle River – GRANT: $569,058
  • Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa – Big Lake Road Project – GRANT $602,916


  • Find more articles on broadband in Carlton County. (
  • 100/20 Mbps ranking: 79 (down 3)
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 15.93


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.

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