Steele County Broadband Profile 2022: Yellow rating: Ranking out 26 of 87

Rank: 26
Code: Yellow
(See Blandin Foundation interactive map)

Steele County: Decent coverage but not much community engagement

Steele County ranks 26 for broadband access and 14 for digital equity out of 87 counties. They have hovered around 86-88 percent coverage to broadband of 100 Mbps down and 20 up since 2019. They have 1839 households without access to broadband at that speed. Estimates indicate that it will cost $17.1 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
Steele 36.2 15,691 88.28 1839  $       17,102,562.36

Steele County will benefit from a border to border grant announced in December 2022:

  • Spectrum Mid-America, LLC managed by Charter Communications Inc., $158,052.00

Steele County has not worked with the Blandin Foundation. They have never received a MN Border to Border grant. They were home to a local provider (Jaguar), which was acquired two years ago.

LTD Broadband was awarded the opportunity to submit a long form to get federal funding (RDOF) to deploy FTTH throughout much of Minnesota, including parts of Steele County. LTD’s application for RDOF has since been rejected. And the Minnesota PUC (Public Utilities Commission) are looking at revoking the ETC designation that LTD needed to qualify for RDOF money. But until the application was denied, Steele County was left in a position where is was hard to make plans around LTD.

The most recent border to border grant helped Steele to retain their yellow code.

Broadband Access:

  2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 88.28 88.95 87.05 86.86 56.16 95.64
25/3 (2022 goal) 89 93.26 88.29 88.44 87.79 99.86

Digital Equity:

Steele County ranks 14 out of 87 for digital equity. (See full Digital Equity Profile)

Steele County ranks 37 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 grant



  • Find more articles on broadband in Steele County (
  • 100/20 Mbps ranking: 26 (up 1)
  • Has worked with Blandin: no
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 36.2

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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