The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) will award $20.6 million in broadband development grants this year, divided between 39 projects as part of the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant program. Local funding will provide nearly $33.7 million toward the program, making the total investment more than $54.3 million.
The program works to bring high-quality broadband access to underserved and unserved areas of the state, mostly in Greater Minnesota. The funding will help provide reliable internet access for 6,922 businesses, homes and community anchor institutions, and more than 56,800 homes and businesses have been aided by the program since 2014.
SW MN projects include:
The Rural Franklin Fiber Project, by Minnesota Valley Telephone Company (MVTC), received $226,800. This middle and last mile project will serve approximately 45 unserved locations in the City of Franklin and the townships of Sherman, Eden, Camp and Birch Cooley in Redwood, Renville and Brown counties. The total eligible project cost is $648,000, with a local match of $421,200.
New Ulm HDT 202 FTTP, by Nuvera Communications, Inc. received $444,386. This last mile project north of New Ulm will serve approximately 80 unserved and 67 underserved locations in Nicollet County. Total eligible project cost is $1,269,675 with a local match of $825,289.
Bismarck & Transit Township FTTP Project by Winthrop Telephone Company, Inc., received $716,000. This last mile project will serve 148 unserved and six underserved locations, including homes, businesses and farms, in Bismarck, Transit and Round Grove townships in Sibley and McLeod counties. Total eligible project cost is $1,790,000, with a local match of $1,074,000.
The State of Minnesota has set a goal for universal access and high-speed internet so that by no later than 2022, all Minnesota businesses and homes have access to high-speed broadband that provides minimum download speeds of at least 25 megabits per second and minimum upload speeds of at least three megabits per second. And by no later than 2026, all Minnesota businesses and homes have access to at least one provider of broadband with download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second and upload speeds of at least 20 megabits per second.