Itasca County Broadband Profile 2022: Yellow Rating: Ranking out 31 of 87

Rank: 31
Code: Yellow
(See Blandin Foundation interactive map)

Itasca County: recent grant will help improve access

Itasca County ranks 31 for broadband access and 48 for digital equity out of 87 counties. They have hovered around 85 percent coverage to broadband of 100 Mbps down and 20 up since 2019. They have 3679 households without access to broadband at that speed. Estimates indicate that it will cost $34.2 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
Itasca 8.7 25,375 85.5 3679  $       34,218,187.50

County has seen very small incremental increases in broadband over the last few years. But they showed a boldness in last 2020, when they decided to invest $293,000 in CARES funding in broadband with Paul Bunyan.

They are home to the Blandin Foundation so the community is engaged; in early 2022, they looked at the local digital divide before and after/during COVID pandemic.

Despite their recent stagnation, they keep their yellow code because they are the home of the Blandin Foundation and therefore have access to local support and an engaged community.

Broadband Access:

  2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 85.5 86.65 84.14 83.06 79.44 76.35
25/3 (2022 goal) 92.85 93.03 87.67 93.12 86.15 78.92

Digital Equity:

Itasca County ranks 48 out of 87 for digital equity. (See full Digital Equity Profile)

Itasca County ranks 54 out of 87 for computer ownership. 90 percent of homes have a computer of device as compared to statewide ownership of 95.5 percent.

Past grants:

  • 2017 – Paul Bunyan Communications – North Central Fiber – GRANT $802,620
  • 2016 MEDIACOM HARRIS TOWNSHIP – GRANT: $224,369
  • 2016 – PAUL BUNYAN COMMUNICATIONS HUBBARD, BECKER & ITASCA COUNTIES – GRANT: $1,742,232
  • 2015 – Paul Bunyan Central Itasca County Fiber – Grant Award: $1,980,000
  • Paul Bunyan Communications – North Central Minnesota Fiber Project– GRANT $2,562,916

Checklist:

  • Find more articles on broadband in Itasca County. (http://tinyurl.com/grujo6t)
  • 100/20 Mbps ranking: 31 (down 2)
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 8.7

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 (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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