IRRRB, Blandin Foundation form new partnership to assist communities with broadband planning

Fun news I’m sharing from the IRRRB newsletter…

Communities within the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) service area have a new source of assistance to help advance local broadband projects.

Grant applications to the Blandin Broadband Communities Program are being accepted under a Blandin Foundation and IRRRB partnership.

The program is designed to help communities with broadband planning, facilitation support, and additional sources of funding.

“The need for better broadband was one theme heard at the Recharge the Range conversation,” said Bernadine Joselyn, Blandin Foundation director of public policy and engagement. “At Blandin Foundation, we see it everywhere in rural, but especially on the Iron Range – entrepreneurs are the engine of the economy. Broadband unleashes the potential and creativity in these people, creating opportunity and vibrancy.”

Rural broadband access and its use is being addressed across the state.

Blandin Foundation since 2003 has partnered in more than 100 communities across the state to implement hundreds of community-based broadband projects. IRRRB has supported development of several rural broadband projects within its service area.

Under the Blandin Broadband Communities Program, four communities within the IRRRB service area will be selected through an application process. Each community must form a steering committee that commits to spending time and attention to planning, project development and management.

Applications can be made from an individual city, group of cities, county, tribal government, school districts, a self-defined region or a community of interest.

A $500,000 IRRRB grant supports the program.

“We are really gratified to see, for the first time on this scale, the relationship between IRRRB and Blandin Foundation address a critical need for this indispensable infrastructure in communities in the IRRRB service area,” said Joselyn.

View the program guidelines and application.

This entry was posted in Blandin Foundation, Funding, MN by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

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

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