Over $8 Million In Broadband Grants Will Improve Rural Internet Locally

Over $8 Million In Broadband Grants Will Improve Rural Internet Locally

(KNSI) – Central Minnesota is benefitting from a rural broadband push.

Office of Broadband Development Executive Director Bree Maki says thousands of customers will soon be getting service.

“More specifically to the St Cloud area, we are happy to say that more than $8.2 million will be invested in Stearns, Sherburne, and Benton Counties to serve more than 3,100 locations.”

Last week the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announced $100 million in investments across the state. Maki says there will be more rounds in the future. Grants are applied for by internet service providers directly.

Maki says with each new round of Border To Border broadband grants, the customers who are still waiting for service are the most remote, and therefore the most expensive.

“We’re looking at the last mile projects and we know that the further we get in our border to border [program], the harder it is to reach those last miles. So with this particular project, just want to point out that these are unserved households, farms, and businesses and often the hardest areas to serve.”

In central Minnesota, Melrose Telephone Company received the largest award, getting just under $5 million. Each grant is a 50% match and requires investment from companies or municipal governments.


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