According to the Steele County Times…
KMTelecom has received a 2016 matching state grant of just more than $764,000 to serve 195 unserved households, nine unserved businesses, the Mantorville Township building, and a small section of west-central Olmsted County.
It is part of the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program, which funds the expansion of high-speed broadband Internet service to unserved or underserved areas in Minnesota.
KMTelecom, in a funding partnership with the State of Minnesota, will exceeding the 2026 state goal by offering speeds up to 1 Gigabyte.
Broadband access will be available to the Kasson-Mantorville school system, Minnesota’s higher education system, and healthcare systems, and will help the region compete in the business development arena, according to information at www.mn.gov.
“It’s great for our rural customers,” KMTelecom president Mary Ehmke said. “Without grant money, we can’t afford to ‘build out’ the rural. It just doesn’t make sense, because of the subscriber density. But we do it because we’re customer service –oriented, and it’s ‘future-proofing’ our network. But out in the rural areas, where you’ve got two or three subscribers per square mile, you can’t justify the cost it takes to put fiber in without some grant money from the state. We might be doing little portions at a time, but we wouldn’t be able to do a project like rural Mantorville without this grant money.”
Ehmke said fiber optic cables will replace copper cable in ground, providing unlimited Internet speed and data. She hopes to have subscribers on the high-speed network by early 2018.