Here’s the announcement…
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the funding of 126 new Recovery Act broadband infrastructure projects that will create jobs and provide rural residents in 38 states and Native American tribal areas access to improved service.
And here are the projects in Minnesota…
- Wikstrom Telephone Company, Incorporated
This $7.4 million grant to Wikstrom Telephone Company, Inc. will deploy 414 miles of new cables and electronics for GPON fiber to the home in 6 communities of Kittson, Marshall and Roseau County for Broadband Services over 100 megabits. Electronic enhancements will be made to existing DSL customers to increase Broadband speeds up to 48mbs, along with 74 miles of additional fiber to the node, and a 150mb microwave upgrade for service to the NW Angle. Wikstrom Telephone’s project stands to benefit approximately 12,000 people, 1,500 businesses, and 83 other community institutions. In addition to the jobs this project will create upfront, it will help drive economic development and create jobs for decades to come.
- Woodstock Telephone Co Inc
Woodstock Telephone Company will use this more than $15.1 million award to expand its fiber network into neighboring rural communities by providing Fiber-to-the-Premise (FTTP) for over 3600 premises in 15 communities located within 3 counties in Southwest Minnesota. This expanded fiber network will provide bandwidth of over 20megabytes per second for advanced voice and data services. More than 8,000 people stand to benefit, as do approximately 180 businesses and nearly 50 community institutions. In addition to the jobs this project will create upfront, it will help drive economic development and create jobs for decades to come.
- Farmers Mutual Telephone Company
This approximately $9.65 million award to Farmers Mutual Telephone Company will bring Fiber-to-the-Premise (FTTP) technology to Minnesota’s Lac qui Parle County. This network will make Lac qui Parle, now an area with limited technology choices, one of the leading technology counties in the state. More than 3,700 people stand to benefit, as do roughly 165 businesses and 12 community institutions. Farmers Mutual estimates the construction will directly support 110 jobs upfront, and will also drive economic development and create jobs for decades to come.
- Arvig Telephone Company
This over $5 million award to Arvig Telephone Company, matched by nearly $1.7 million in private contribution, will bring high-speed DSL broadband service to unserved establishments in its rural service territory. This network will be comparable to the DSL service provided in its more populated areas. The network will also be engineered so that it can be easily upgraded at a reasonable cost to meet future needs. More than 1,800 people stand to benefit, as do nearly 70 businesses. In addition to the jobs this project will create upfront, it will help drive economic development and create jobs for decades to come.
- Winnebago Cooperative Telecom Association
This $19.6 million grant will allow the Winnebago Cooperative Telecom Association (WCTA) to provide FTTP for rural portions of about 21 communities in Iowa and Minnesota, and will provide bandwidth of over 5megabytes per second for advanced voice, video, and data services. WCTA’s project stands to benefit over 8,000 people. Not only will this project create jobs upfront, but it will also help drive economic development in the community that will help create jobs for years to come.
Note: Mostly in Iowa but includes MN too.
You can see the full list of awards online.
I happened to be in Lac qui Parle yesterday meeting with the Pam Lehmann and Andrea Lewis at the LqP EDA. I thought they seemed awfully happy! We were talking about their new website (which shall be unveiled soon) but of course we were also talking about broadband and the impact it can have in a community such as Madison Minnesota – or the whole county.
Minnesota is a beautiful state, driving through it I was reminded of just how livable the communities are – so long as you can get a job. These broadband projects (in and out of Lac qui Parle) will open the door to residents finding jobs without the barrier of location/proximity. It will open the door to new residents who already work online and therefore can live anywhere they can get broadband. It will open the door to business relocation and/or developing in these areas where their main requirements are broadband and good people.
Congrats to all of the awarded projects!