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Aitkin County

Table of goal data by year
Year Rank 100/20 Mbps
2023 #40 of 87 84.75%
2022 #77 of 87 60.36%
2021 #78 of 87 52.96%
2020 #82 of 87 46.66%
2019 #80 of 87 37.74%
2018 #82 of 87 17.55%
2017 #76 of 87 11.51%

Aitkin County Sees Great Gains

Aitkin County went from ranking 77 last year to 40 in 2023. They have gone from 60.36 percent coverage to broadband of 100 Mbps down and 20 up in 2022 to 93.96 percent coverage in 2023. They have 2100 households without access to broadband at that speed. Estimates indicate that it will cost $19.5 million to get to ubiquitous broadband in the county.

In 2022, Aitkin County worked with  Blandin Foundation as an IRBC (Iron Range Broadband Community) and they were cohorts in Blandin’s inaugural Accelerate! program, a process to spur community acquisition and deployment of federal and state broadband funds.

In November 2022, the Mille Lacs Messenger reported that an $4.8 million broadband construction would be completed in fall of 2023. In December 2022, Paul Bunyan Communications shared more about a Minnesota State Border to Border funded project that would expand broadband to Aitkin, Itasca and St Louis Counties. And in June 2023, Paul Bunyan reported broadband expansion in Grand Rapids, Warba, Marble, Calumet and Waukenabo Township in  Aitkin County.  SCI was awarded a almost $800,000 from a Border to Border grant to serve 199 locations in the townships of Balsam, Logan, Spalding, Turner and Workman. Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative has two applications for Border to Border grants in to the Office of Broadband Development; decision should be announced Winter 2024.

Aitkin County residents were awarded 65 line extension funding requests, which means state funding will subsidize last mile broadband extension to their homes.

In the past, a roadblock for Aitkin was that the county is widely served by a national provider that has not been upgrading the connections in their area. It seems that is becoming less of a hindrance.

Aitkin is getting an optimistic green code after significant improvement in the last year and greater interest from the County and area providers.

Household Density


Number of Providers


As of 2023 · Source: MN DEED

Households with Device Access

A Device 83.7% 95.5%
Desktop or Laptop 70.8% 83.2%
Smartphone 63.9% 90.1%
Tablet 47.9% 65.8%
Other 2.9% 2.3%

Has Worked with Blandin Foundation


Has Received MN Grant(s)


2017 – SCI – Shamrock Township Broadband Expansion – GRANT $148,503


2020 – Emily Cooperative Telephone Company – Round Lake Fiber Project – GRANT $376,000

2020 – Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative (MLEC) – MLEC Phase 3 FTTH Project with CTC – GRANT $1,253,955

2020 – SCI Broadband (Savage Communications Inc.) – Glen Township Broadband Expansion Project – GRANT $195,848

Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative (MLEC) – Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative Phase 4 FTTH – GRANT $198,607. This fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) project will serve 80 unserved and five underserved locations along the southeast side of Farm Island Lake in Aitkin County. Through a funding partnership with the State of Minnesota, MLEC will bring 1 Gbps speeds to 84 homes and one business on the fiber route, exceeding the State’s 2022 and 2026 speed goals.


Government Districts

U.S. Congress: CD 8

MN Senate: 10, 07

MN House: 07A, 10A

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