The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports…
Limited high-speed internet in rural Dakota County has created a digital divide that officials are hoping to bridge with a $1.9 million project, installing fiber optic cable in tiny townships on the county’s southern edge.
Dakota County is partnering with Hiawatha Broadband Communications and Dakota Electric Association to build a fiber optic “backbone” south of Hastings — the final step in a years long effort to provide broadband countywide.
To help fund the project, Dakota County is seeking $912,000 from the state’s Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program, a $35 million pool that funds the expansion of broadband service across Minnesota. In previous years, most of the grant money has gone to outstate projects.
“There’s been somewhat of a disadvantage in the metro area, because there’s an assumption that … you’re going to have very good, high-quality service,” said Commissioner Mike Slavik, who represents rural Dakota County. “There are sections of southern Dakota County that are actually in a worse service level than many parts of greater Minnesota,” Slavik said.