Hibbing Daily Tribune reports on recent Blandin broadband grant recipients…
Chisholm and Balkan Township are among the recipients. The two communities have been identified as being largely underserved by broadband access of 25 megabits per second upload and 3 megabits per second download, according to a press release.
The projects include:
• Wi-fi on buses: Chisholm School District will equip two school buses with wi-fi, especially for students on the longest routes, who live most remotely and participate in special activities, to complete homework.
• Community website/portal: Created to be the “go to” online hub for Chisholm, consisting of an interactive community calendar, links to community resources for residents, tourists and potential business developers.
• Hot spots: equipment will be placed at high-volume areas in the community currently lacking strong connectivity.
• iPad/Hotspot check out: equipment will be made available for checkout at the Chisholm Public Library for two-week installments.
The Chisholm Community Foundation (CCF) has awarded a matching grant to help bring these projects to fruition.
IRRRB Commissioner Mark Phillips said addressing broadband in unserved and underserved areas of northeastern Minnesota is a top priority for the region’s residents, businesses, schools and local units of government — especially in rural areas.
“We’re pleased that partnerships such as this between Blandin Foundation, St. Louis County and IRRRB are helping a half dozen communities move forward in implementing creative ideas to increase broadband use and to promote future development,” he stated in a release.
As a precursor to project grants, Chisholm and Balkan Township, in collaboration with Hibbing, Mountain Iron/Buhl and Cherry Township, launched an effort to assess the community’s current broadband access and use. This knowledge will inform current and future project development.
“Today’s rural leaders know that for their communities to reach their fullest potential, they need a strong Internet connection,” said Blandin Foundation President and CEO Dr. Kathleen Annette in the release. “We’re honored to stand with the City of Chisholm and Balkan Township as they pave the path to a broadband-enabled future.”