Rice County will try for a second year to connect more of its residents.
The Board of Commissioners on Tuesday voted unanimously to back a grant application that would extend broadband service into unserved or underserved parts of northwest Rice County including areas around Webster and Veseli. The application will be made by three area internet service providers: Lonsdale Telephone Co., BEVCOMM and Jaguar Communications.
The article points out a difficult conundrum…
Kathy Feldbrugge, Rice County economic development coordinator, said she’s not yet certain how much the companies will request from DEED, which has $20 million to disperse in this grant cycle. Paperwork is due to DEED by Sept. 11. Feldbrugge said the awards should be announced by year’s end.
Grants can provide up to 50 percent of project development costs with a maximum of $5 million, according to DEED’s website. In the last three years, DEED has provided about 75 grants.
Last year, the county supported an application to extend service to areas south and southeast of Lonsdale. The grant wasn’t approved, Feldbrugge said, because other areas had greater need.
The go around, she said, the providers looked for an area most wouldn’t move into.
“That’s part of the dilemma for greater Minnesota,” she said. Providers need to make it profitable.”