Community celebrates $5.2 million in USDA funding in Brainerd

I’m all about Brainerd today because local news was all about Brainerd yesterday – and their recent $5.2 million funding from the USDA ReConnect program. WDIO TV reports on the local reaction to the funding…

People choose to live in the country for a reason. But some make sacrifices, like going without high speed internet.

That’s about to change for about 700 households in the Cherry area and east of the airport in Hibbing. “I’ve got goosebumps,” shared Kip Borbiconi, who lives in Cherry.

A $7 million dollar broadband expansion project will break ground this spring. This has been a huge effort for several years on behalf of many stakeholders. A $5.2 million dollar grant from the USDA that was just announced means it can move forward.

They talk about the infrastructure…

It will be built by CTC, in partnership with the Northeast Service Cooperative. “We’ve already been talking to residents and businesses, to see what we can offer. Pre-sign up is going on now,” explained Anita Hollenhorst, from CTC. “Once the ground thaws, we will start digging.” ….

The NESC already has 1200 miles of fiber line they are operating. The IRRRB, St. Louis County, local school districts, and others have helped along the way. Executive Director for RAMS, Steve Giorgi, said, “Expanding broadband has been a priority for us. We wouldn’t be here without Blandin and the IRRRB recognizing how important this is for the Range.”

Give a nice nod to Blandin Broadband Communities initiative in the area…

The Blandin Broadband Community Group helped with a feasiblity study to get the grant going. Tom Whiteside was part of the group. “This is going to bring the Iron Range in to the future,” Whiteside said.

And talk about where to go for more info…

There are open houses scheduled for the end of February at the Cherry Town Hall. February 27th in the evening and February 28th in the morning. More details to come later.

This entry was posted in BCBP, Blandin Foundation, Funding, MN by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s