Lake County Fiber Project– grant deadline approaches and work continues

The Lake County News Chronicle reports on the latest on Lake Connections, the ARRA supported fiber project in Lake County…

After five years and more than $70 million dollars, the Lake County broadband project, dubbed Lake Connections, is nearing completion.

“We’re working to try to get everything done,” said County Administrator Matt Huddleston last week.

Contractors are working furiously to finish the main fiber network, using up $66 million in federal loans and grants before the June 30 construction deadline. The county will then foot the bill for “drops,” or hooking homes directly up to the network, that must be completed beyond that deadline. Last December, the county board pledged up to $15 million of its own dollars for that purpose. They have already spent more than $6 million.

The article highlights the projects ups and downs, of which there have been a few. The construction had barriers, but customers are being served and are increasing…

It remains to be seen if Lake Connections will get enough subscribers to pay the county’s loan payments. Officials say they need 44 percent of eligible residents to sign up for the service to make the network viable. So far, the Lake Connections office has received 1,800 applications for service and are averaging about 100 applications a week.

I imagine they are working furiously and are grateful for good weather, but that the project will continue regardless and hopefully continue to sign up 100 new customers a week…

For now, it’s a rush against the clock for contractors as the fiber network gets laid across Lake County and into eastern St. Louis County and as officials in the Lake County courthouse work on how to complete the project with federal funds being cut off on June 30.

“I think that’s what we’re looking at right now is how to continue on … after the close of bids,” Huddleston said.

This entry was posted in Funding, Rural by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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