Carlton County Broadband Profile 2022: Red Rating: Ranking out 83 of 87

Rank: 83
Code:  Red
(See Blandin Foundation interactive map)

Carlton County: hard overcoming a national incumbent provider

Carlton County ranks 83 for broadband access and 84 for digital equity out of 73 counties. They have gone from almost 53 percent coverage to broadband of 100 Mbps down and 20 up to less than 50 percent. This is likely due to greater granularity in reporting, but is not positive. They have 8046 households without access to broadband at that speed. Estimates indicate that it will cost $74.8 million to get to ubiquitous broadband in the county.

County Housing Unit Density Number of Housing Units 100/20 Mbps houses unserved Cost to close the gap
Carlton 17.9 15,688 48.71 8046 $74,831,289.36

Carlton County will benefit from two border to border grants announced in December 2022.

  • Mediacom Minnesota LLC, $801,834.27 – for a project with a cost of $2,719,526
  • Consolidated Telephone Company (CTC) was one of the grant recipients, receiving $4,857,030 in funding (to cover St. Louis, Carlton, and Cass counties)

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. The County has shown an interest in investing federal (ARPA) money; they need engaged providers.

Carlton County access to broadband hasn’t changed substantially since we have been tracking.

Carlton County receives a red code because they have so far to go to get ubiquitous coverage. They have received some good news but the $2.7 million project they will see soon is a far cry from the $75 million estimated investment required.

Broadband Access:

  2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 48.71 52.08 52.02 47.57 58.22 52.32
25/3 (2022 goal) 59.41 72.79 75.17 71.71 67.29 62.74

Digital Equity:

Carlton County ranks 73 out of 87 for digital equity. (See full Digital Equity Profile)

Carlton County ranks 35 out of 87 for computer ownership. 91.5 percent of homes have a computer of device as compared to statewide ownership of 95.5 percent.

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: 83 (down 4)
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 17.9

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 County Profiles 2022, MN 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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