Skip to Main Content

Sherburne County

Table of goal data by year
Year 25/3 Mbps 100/20 Mbps
2020 #55 of 87
82.9%
#51 of 87
73.66%
2019 #30 of 87
91.63%
#50 of 87
72.36%
2018 #29 of 87
89.23%
#36 of 87
67.11%
2017 #49 of 87
75.4%
#67 of 87
28.02%
Coverage map graphic

Rank: 67 (out of 87) for access to 100/20 megabits per second (Mbps)

Sherburne County is a mixed bag of served, underserved and unserved. It’s surprising given their proximity to the Twin Cities but the market has driven deployment, which means densely populated areas are served and other areas aren’t. But the community is working hard to change that.

The county is focused on getting better broadband to unserved places; five years ago, they released a feasibility study. They have been installing conduit in strategic areas throughout the county as part of several road projects that are included within our 5-year county road improvement plan. An RFP for the fiber optic conduit was released in 2018 and Arvig was awarded the contract to fill several portions of the conduit. The County has continued to install additional conduit since that time and hope to work with additional providers to improve the broadband service throughout the County over the next several years.

COVID has reignited the interest in deployment because across the county people have experienced forced adoption as schools, jobs and services move online. COVID has accelerated the pace of technology adoption but the acceleration hasn’t been unilateral, so the County is still required to provide services online and offline for folks who don’t have technology. It’s a tricky and expensive position. The county, schools and businesses have to make accommodations to reach everyone but that is slowing them down in other ways.

What we learned in the past:

Sherburne County was a 2015-2016 Blandin Broadband Community.

Sherburne County has benefited a few MN state grants:

  • 2017 – Palmer Wireless – Sherburne County Road 3 – GRANT $110,661
  • 2016 – PALMER WIRELESS BIG LAKE INDUSTRIAL PARK – GRANT: $ 90,988
  • 2016 – PALMER WIRELESS DEL TONE ROAD AND ST. CLOUD AIRPORT – GRANT: $ 179,400
  • 2014 – Palmer Wireless, Becker Industrial Park – Award: $151,934.

Update from 2020:

In the past few years, the Sherburne County Public Works Department has been installing conduit in strategic areas throughout the county as part of several road projects that are included within our 5-year county road improvement plan. The County’s goal in installing this conduit infrastructure is to “dig once” and facilitate the expansion of broadband service for County residents, businesses, institutions and public facilities.

An RFP for the fiber optic conduit was released in 2018 and Arvig was awarded the contract to fill several portions of the conduit. The County has continued to install additional conduit since that time and hope to work with additional providers to improve the broadband service throughout the County over the next several years.

The County has also recently been accepted into DEED’s Telecommuter Forward program and we look forward to working with DEED’s staff to promote telecommuting options to our residents and business owners.

Is broadband a help or hindrance in dealing with COVID?

Sherburne County met with Blandin on Broadband to talk about how their broadband situation helped or hindered the ability to deal with COVID restrictions.

Sherburne County is a mixed bag of served, underserved and unserved. COVID reignited the interest in deployment because across the county people have experienced forced adoption as schools, jobs and services move online. COVID has accelerated the pace of technology adoption but the acceleration hasn’t been unilateral, so the County is still required to provide services online and offline for folks who don’t have technology. It’s a tricky and expensive position.

Luckily for students, Sherburne has good cell coverage. Schools have been handing out mobile hotspots to students without home access and that has worked well.

With the mixed access, Sherburne is experiencing a digital divide. Some kids can learn from home, some people can work from home and other can’t. The broadband is so mixed that the community is forced to make policies to adapt to all residents, which means they may not compete (with schools and work opportunities) with counties that have better, ubiquitous broadband.

The good news is that Sherburne is the fastest growing county in population. While there was a slowdown in 2008, growth has caught up and new development is happening. Broadband follows new development; and development follows broadband but as growth continues those paths seem to catch up to each other.

Find more articles on broadband in Sibley County.

Household Density

67

Number of Providers

12

As of 2019 · Source: MN DEED

Households with Device Access

Computer 93.6% 90.3%
statewide
Desktop or Laptop 85.7% 81.1%
statewide
Smartphone 82.2% 76.5%
statewide
Tablet 64.3% 59.3%
statewide
Other 2.5% 3.5%
statewide

Has Worked with Blandin Foundation

Yes

Has Received MN Grant(s)

Yes

Government Districts

U.S. Congress: CD 6

MN Senate: 14, 15, 30, 31

MN House: 14B, 15A, 15B, 30A, 31A

Find Your Representatives

arrow icon pointing up Back to Top