Pine and Lakes Echo Journal reports…
Continuing work started three years ago to provide better internet service in underserved areas, the Lake Shore City Council agreed Monday, July 27, to seek bids from providers for improved broadband in the city.
Council member John Terwilliger cast the only “no” vote. After hearing from Pequot Lakes School Board member Susan Mathison-Young during the meeting, which everyone attended online via Zoom, Terwilliger said the city should table any action for a month to wait for more information to be gathered regarding programs available to help improve broadband access.
Other council members agreed the city could seek proposals from broadband providers while exploring other programs at the same time.
City Administrator Teri Hastings said COVID-19 funds the city receives could be used toward broadband services. The first step, she said, is to get an idea of what it would take to build out areas of Lake Shore that are currently underserved. The city planned to seek bids from CTC, TDS and Charter Communications, internet providers in the Lake Shore area.
Hastings also said Sylvan Township is receiving additional money from Cass County for broadband.
“So there are some options out there to help improve broadband for the community,” Hastings said.
Mathison-Young said areas underserved by broadband is a problem throughout the state, not just in Lake Shore. She said 28% of all Minnesota students have internet issues, and businesses and groups are working with state government to bring broadband to those rural students who are underserved.
She advised the council to wait to seek bids from providers until more information is gathered about programs designed to help with this issue. Also, she said Thursday, July 30, the state will have a better idea of what schooling will look like this fall with an announcement by Gov. Tim Walz.
“If some is digital curriculum, which is a strong possibility, this has to be ready to go,” she said.