Rice County Broadband Profile 2022: Yellow rating: Ranking out 32 of 87

Rank: 32
Code: Yellow
(See Blandin Foundation interactive map)

Rice County: Ongoing conversation may open doors 

Rice County ranks 32 for broadband access and 12 for digital equity out of 87 counties. They have bee hovering between 82-83 percent coverage to broadband of 100 Mbps down and 20 up since 2019. They have 3695 households without access to broadband at that speed. Estimates indicate that it will cost $34.4 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
Rice 48.4 25,018 85.23 3695  $       34,364,974.98

Rice County had a great leap of broadband in 2019; they have been stagnant since. However, they were awarded two grants in 2021 and we haven’t seen the impact of those deployments yet, so there’s hope but not enough to pump them from yellow to green code.

Rice County will benefit from a few

Projected allocation of American Recovery Project ARP funds in Rice is $12,988,807; broadband is one possible use.

Rice County has the opportunity to invest in broadband with federal funding. That would help them reach ubiquitous broadband. They have engaged providers who might be happy to make good use of the funds. They are code yellow.

Broadband Access:

  2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 85.23 85.58 82.95 82.43 32.63 48.85
25/3 (2022 goal) 90.12 94.18 93.75 92.46 93.2 97.93

Digital Equity:

Rice County ranks 12 out of 87 for digital equity. (See full Digital Equity Profile)

Rice County ranks 5 out of 87 for computer ownership. 97.3 percent of homes have a computer of device as compared to statewide ownership of 95.5 percent.

Past grants:

  • MN State Grants awarded in 2021: Nuvera Communications, Inc. – Webster Rural FTTP – GRANT $431,260 This last mile project will serve 103 unserved and 178 underserved locations in Wheatland and Webster townships in Rice County, Euraka and Greenvale townships in Dakota County, and New Market and Cedar Lake townships in Scott County.
  • BEVCOMM (Cannon Valley Telecom, Inc.) – Rural Morristown Fiber Expansion Project – GRANT $210,692 This last mile project will serve approximately 14 unserved and 94 underserved locations in portions of Rice, Waseca, and Steele counties.


  • Find more articles on broadband in Rice County (http://tinyurl.com/jg6q8gs)
  • 100/20 Mbps ranking: 32 (up 1)
  • Has worked with Blandin: no
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 48.4

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.

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s