The Institute for Local Self Reliance has updated their 2017 report on how Cooperatives Fiberize Rural America, because…
In the 18 months from when we originally released our report on rural cooperatives, we have seen a tremendous increase in attention on cooperatives as a key approach for dramatically improving rural Internet access. Many cooperatives have become more aggressive in building next-generation networks for their member-owners and their neighbors. This updated report reflects the latest data we could gather on this essential movement.
Here are some of the high level highlights:
- More than 140 co-ops across the country now offer residential gigabit Internet access to their members, reaching more than 300 communities.
- Co-ops connect 70.8 percent of North Dakota and 47.7 percent of South Dakota landmass to fiber, and residents enjoy some of the fastest Internet access speeds in the nation.
- Georgia and Mississippi have overturned state laws banning co-ops from offering Internet access, and other states, including Colorado, Maryland, North Carolina, and Texas, have implemented legislation that will further ease the way.
And a look at what’s happening in Minnesota.
They mention a few Minnesota coops and the impact of Minnesota state grants…
In addition to federal funding sources, co-ops
are often eligible for state and local grants. The
Minnesota Border-to-Border Broadband Grant
Program has awarded funds to several
cooperatives, and multiple states looked to it as
a model for their own grant programs. Local 22
government funding for connectivity is rarer, but
in Minnesota, numerous counties have
provided loans and grants to electric and
telephone cooperatives for broadband projects,
often to supplement federal or state funding.23
For example, Cook County, Minnesota, offered
Arrowhead Electric Cooperative a $4 million
grant after the co-op was awarded $16 million
in stimulus funding.