The Institute for Local Self Reliance reports on what’s happening in Kandiyohi County…
Hoping to address the shortcoming, Kandiyohi County and the City of Willmar Economic Development Commission have been working on ten different projects to shore up Internet access around the county.
Here are a few of the projects…
- The first major project closest to being “shovel ready” is a $10 million fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) project in partnership with the Federated Telephone Cooperative of Morris. Federated is expected to finance twenty-five percent of the overall project, with new subscribers expected to pay about $1,250 per household to connect to the gigabit-capable network.
- Kandiyohi County is also eyeing the unprecedented federal funding opportunities created by both the recently-passed infrastructure bill and Covid relief efforts. All told, the country hopes to combine a large chunk of the $8.3 million it’s receiving from the American Rescue Plan, with money from the state’s looming Border to Border development grants.
- Project leaders hope to use Rescue Plan money to fund the 50% local match required of the state’s Border-to-Border broadband grant, but recently expressed concerns to the West Central Tribune that project rules may not allow it. As such, the projects remain on temporary hold until the rules governing new state grants come into clear focus.
- County leaders hope that past experiences are helping to shape new projects, including a $19 million fiber network to the Colfax, Lake Andrew, and Norway Lake Townships, as well as a second, $32 million partnership with Federated Telephone Cooperative to deploy gigabit-capable fiber to seven additional Kandiyohi County townships.