Chippewa County Commissioners are discussing the various funding sources and policies that are impacting the county. Numerous state and federal funding programs have resulted in plans that will provide new options to many in rural parts of the County.
LTD Broadband was recently awarded $1.3 billion in federal funds to provide a combination of fiber and fixed wireless broadband service to customers across 15 states including large portions of rural Chippewa County. This could mean new opportunities for many rural residents that are currently considered “unserved” by the Minnesota Office of Broadband Map. This investment must be rolled out in the County by 2027 according to the FCC rules. Chippewa County representatives will be actively monitoring the roll out of this broadband improvement.
Meanwhile, this federal grant renders these “unserved” areas of the County ineligible for other grant funds until the company builds their network. This means Chippewa County is limited on how it can apply for and use other state and federal funds dedicated to improving broadband service.
County leaders are getting into national discussions…
County staff are also engaging in important broadband development policy discussions on a national scale. Terry Ocaña, Chippewa County’s IT Director, is an active member on the National Association of Counties Broadband Task Force, participating and staying up to date on broadband issues and policies and bringing that knowledge and information back to Chippewa County to guide conversations about local options. This taskforce recently released a national report on the importance of broadband throughout the country.