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Stearns County

Table of goal data by year
Year Rank 100/20 Mbps
2023 #42 of 87 84.68%
2022 #33 of 87 84.69%
2021 #36 of 87 84.71%
2020 #34 of 87 82.41%
2019 #32 of 87 81.07%
2018 #64 of 87 40.17%
2017 #58 of 87 38.01%

Stearns County: Bump Up From Yellow to Green

Stearns County ranks 42 (down nine points) for broadband access and out of 87 counties. They have 84.86 percent coverage to broadband of 100 Mbps down and 20 up. They have 7864 households without access to broadband at that speed. Estimates indicate that it will cost $73.1 million to get to ubiquitous broadband in the county.

Stearns County saw a great increase in broadband in 2019 and have been stagnant since that time.In December 22, Albany received $746,964 to serve 191 unserved homes and 42 underserved homes in rural Northeastern Stearns County and Melrose Telephone (Arvig) received almost $5 million to reach 945 unserved and 1,204 underserved households, farms and businesses in the central portion of Stearns County near the rural parts of Sauk Centre, Melrose, Meire Grove, Greenwald, Elrosa, Spring Hill, St. Martin (and in-town St. Martin), Roscoe, Farming, Richmond, Cold Spring and Eden Valley.

In 2023, Runestone Telephone received $4.8 million to bring high-speed internet to 628 households, farms, businesses and anchor institutions within rural western Stearns County. Runestone, Albany and Arvig have applications in to the latest (still open) round of Border to Border funding; results should be available in early 2024. And T-Mobile is planning to bring fiber to St Cloud in Stearns County.

While Stearns has been stagnant, the recent successful and hopeful broadband grant applications tip the Stearns ranking to green.

Household Density


Number of Providers


As of 2023 · Source: MN DEED

Households with Device Access

A Device 90.4% 95.5%
Desktop or Laptop 79.6% 83.2%
Smartphone 76.0% 90.1%
Tablet 57.5% 65.8%
Other 3.0% 2.3%

Has Worked with Blandin Foundation


Has Received MN Grant(s)


2023 – Runestone Telephone Assoc. – Stearns County West Phase 2 – GRANT $4,800,000

2022 – Albany Mutual Telephone, $746,964.00

2022 – Melrose Telephone Co. dba Arvig, $4,974,570.00 (Learn more)

ReConnect funding through Upsala Cooperative Telephone Association in Morrison, Stearns and Todd counties.

MN State Grant awarded in 2021: Sytek Communications – Morrison/Todd/Stearns County FTTP Project – GRANT $1,048,668 This last mile project will bring service to 130 locations in Southwest Morrison, Southeastern Todd and Northeastern Stearns counties.

2017 – Albany Mutual Telephone Association – Two Rivers Area – GRANT $616,743


Arvig (Melrose Telephone Company) – Eden Valley & Melrose Area Project – GRANT $393,890

Government Districts

U.S. Congress: CD 6, CD 7

MN Senate: 12, 13, 14

MN House: 12A, 12B, 13A, 13B, 14A, 14B

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