From the newsletter from the Office of Broadband Development…
Office of Broadband Development News
The following updates are available from the Office of Broadband Development:
- New Broadband Grant Administrator Mike Wimmer
- Border to Border Grant Applications due by March 2 and new form to submit challenges
- Line Extension Connection Program
- Digital Equity Planning Process
Welcome OBD’s New Broadband Grants Administrator!
OBD is excited to announce that Mike Wimmer is joining the OBD team as a Broadband Grants Administrator. Mike has previously served as the Economic Development Manager for Mille Lacs County, President of the Minnesota Association of Professional County Economic Developers and most recently as a Community Development Specialist with the Southern Colorado Economic Development District, where he helped lead an initiative to improve broadband access to 13 rural counties in Southern Colorado. Mike graduated Summa Cum Laude from St. Cloud State University with a degree in Planning and Community Development and is currently enrolled in the Master of Leadership program at Truman State University in Missouri. In his free time, Mike enjoys spending time with family and friends and cheering on the Minnesota Twins.
Mike joins Jenn Frost and Karrie Jansen to help administer the Border-to-Border Grant Program, the Low Density Pilot Program and the Line Extension Connection Program and other tasks associated with achieving border-to-border broadband.
Reminder – Border to Border Broadband Infrastructure Grant Applications Due March 2nd and NEW FORM TO SUBMIT CHALLENGES
The days are counting down! Border to Border Broadband Infrastructure Grant applications are due by 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 2nd, 2023. You must submit the grant application through the Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP)—see next article for tips on using. If you have read all of the application material and the FAQs and still have questions, please send those questions via email to DEED.email@example.com and we will do our best to respond before the application deadline.
Once the applications are filed, we will post to the website by March 7th, a list of all applications received, the proposed project area and the broadband speeds that would be provided. Challenges are due by 4:00 p.m. on April 5, 2023. For this grant round, we have prepared a form to be used to submit your challenge – it is available on our website.
Secure File Transfer Protocol Tips
If you haven’t already requested a SFTP portal account, email DEED.firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information so we can set up your account for your project(s):
- Email address you want the account set up under
- Name of your company, and then the name of each of the grant applications you will be submitting so we can create a folder for each project
- Let us know your name, email address and phone number in case we have questions
- Please do this now so there is time for you to get access to your account.
For those that have requested a SFTP portal account, if you are having problems getting in, try using a different browser (Microsoft Edge doesn’t work very well, but Chrome does).
Also, make sure the password you need to create meets the requirements (and more if possible).
If having problems, email DEED.email@example.com.
Line Extension Connection Program
Just a reminder that the portal for the Line Extension Connection program is available for those in homes and businesses without a wired broadband service of at least 25Mbps download and 3Mbps upload at their location. Eligible addresses will be provided to broadband providers to see if any want to bid through a reverse auction process to serve any of those addresses. Bids selected will qualify for a state grant to help offset construction costs. More information and the portal to register your address is available.
Minnesota Digital Equity Planning—Be Part of the Planning Process!
If you are interested in helping to shape Minnesota’s digital equity plan, there are three ways you can assist. For now, you can establish a Digital Connection Committee and register it with OBD by March 15, 2023. Many of these committees will be eligible to apply for a mini-grant of up to $4000—those applications are due March 3. Then, beginning April 3, you can use data to tell OBD your community or organization’s digital equity story. You can also join a committee near you and ask how to become involved. Or, once drafted, you can provide feedback on the Digital Equity Plan (approximately late August through late September). Stay up to date on the planning process by visiting OBD’s website.