IRRB will be talking broadband on Monday – as well as other issues

Business North reports that Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation is meeting next week to discuss a range of items including…

  • A $579,272 broadband infrastructure grant to Bois Forte Band of Chippewa to support a $2.3 million project to construct broadband fiber to serve 442 unserved and underserved households within Bois Forte Reservation.

  • A $105,450 broadband infrastructure grant to Paul Bunyan Communications – Ash River (Northwest St. Louis Unorganized) to support a $421,800 project to construct broadband fiber to 121 unserved and underserved households in the Ash River area.

  • A $236,400 broadband infrastructure grant to Paul Bunyan Communications – Kabetogama Area (Kabetogama and Northwest St. Louis Unorganized) for a $945,600 project to construct broadband fiber to 207 unserved and underserved households in the Kabetogma area.

  • A $224,000 broadband infrastructure grant to Paul Bunyan Communications – Morcom Township for a $899,200 project to construct broadband fiber to 126 unserved and underserved households in Morcom Township area.

  • A $236,050 broadband infrastructure grant to Paul Bunyan Communications – Elephant Lake & Black Duck Lake (Camp 5 Unorganized Township) for a $944,200 project to construct broadband fiber to 124 unserved and underserved households near Elephant Lake.

  The broadband projects leverage private funding and the Minnesota Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program, said Phillips.

“We’ve always struggled to find a role in broadband,” he said. “But where we’re landing is in a spot where we’ve found a spot for the public match. We’re pretty excited about this because there’s a lot of private money from the providers and there’s a lot of border-to-border money.”

Digital Inclusion grant opportunity for libraries: deadline Dec 20, 2019

I’d love to see Minnesota libraries apply…

Accelerating Promising Practices for Small Libraries

December 02, 2019

Application: FY 2020 Notice of Funding Opportunity (PDF 399KB)
Grant Amount: $10,000–$50,000
Grant Period: Two years
Cost Share Requirement: None

Program Overview:
Accelerating Promising Practices for Small Libraries (APP) is a special initiative of the National Leadership Grants for Libraries Program. The goal of this initiative is to support projects that strengthen the ability of small and/or rural libraries and archives to serve their communities and to build grantee capacity through participation in a community of practice. IMLS invites applications that focus on the following topics:

  • transforming school library practice
  • community memory
  • digital inclusion

There’s a webinar next week for more info:

We invite you to participate in a pre-application webinar to learn more about the program and ask questions.

  • Thursday, September 12, 2019 3:00-4:00 PM Eastern

Le Sueur Commissioners support Bevcomm grant proposals for Derrynane, Lexington, Lanesburgh and Montgomery townships

Le Sueur County News reports…

High speed internet access may soon be available in Derrynane and parts of Lexington, Lanesburgh and Montgomery townships, but it’s no guarantee just yet.

At an Aug. 27 board meeting, Le Sueur County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution to commit funds in 2021 to help Bevcomm expand its fiber-optic cable network to the area.

Le Sueur County has been pursuing partnerships with internet service providers (ISPs) for the past month to expand broadband internet to rural areas. The county recently found a partner in Bevcomm, who requested $300,000 from the county for the project, which covers much of Derrynane, northern parts of Lexington, parts of Lanesburgh southeast of Heidelberg and the northern edges of Montgomery Township.

Commissioner John King said the reason the county is involved is because internet service providers won’t serve rural areas without subsidies.

Murray County endorses Lismore Coop’s broadband proposal with possibility of loan

According to the Marshall Independent

The Murray County Board gave a much needed boost Tuesday to a regional broadband telecommunications access proposal.

The board committed up to $200,000, which could be taken from the county’s Economic Development Authority revolving loan fund, to a grant application prepared by Lismore Coop Telephone Company of Lismore.

The funding will open the door to potential grant dollars that would substantially improve internet options for subscribers in parts of southwest Minnesota. Murray County EDA Director Amy Rucker recommended the allocation, which is contingent on the company receiving its grant.

Paul Bunyan is applying for MN grant to better serve Koochiching County

International Falls Journal reports…

Efforts to get high-speed internet in some homes and businesses in and around Koochiching County received a boost this week when Paul Bunyan Communications announced it’s applying for a grant through the Border-to-Border Broadband program.

If funded, the company could offer services to more than 1,200 locations in Kabetogama, Pelland Junction, Ericsburg and Ray.

The effort is assisted by Koochiching Technology Initiative, a volunteer community initiative founded in 2018 to leverage technology and internet tools “for a thriving future in Koochiching County and Kabetogama.” Members of the KTI steering committee include Harley Droba, Alysa Hackenmueller, Paul Nevanen, Soren Olesen, Ted Saxton, Darcy Sullivan and Jim Yount. For more information about KTI, visit or email

Franconia is working on getting better broadband – with an impressive community input proposal

Franconia has been working on getting better broadband. They have a Franconia Township Communications Committee on Broadband. They got funding from Blandin (combined with County and Township investment) to do a feasibility study, where the surveyed community members and looked at options for better broadband. They used that to create a broadband proposal that they shared earlier this month at the monthly Franconia town hall meeting where the township supervisors voted 3-0 on moving forward to partner with CTC to apply for the state boarder to boarder broadband grant.  If approved, this will bring rural Franconia Township residents fiber.

Chisago County Press reports…

People who live in Franconia Township are all about getting more fiber into their lives– fiber optic that is.

About 50 citizens attending a townhall supervisor meeting August 13 were able to exit happy,  after Franconia Township supervisors passed a resolution 3-0 expressing official support to applying for state Border to Border grants earmarked for upgrading Internet services.

An Internet citizens group represented at last week’s meeting by Angel Phillips Permaloff, Wade Vitalis, Dan Omdahl and Aaron Froberg–is working with a Minnesota telecommunications cooperative, CTC.  The company has been around since 1950 and is motivated to add high capacity and high speed service territory covering both Chisago Lake Township and Franconia.

Franconia’s current sole Internet provider is Frontier Communications of MN.  In a just-completed survey, township property owners registered little satisfaction with Frontier Internet.  Even more disheartening is Frontier doesn’t seem to care, according to anecdotes shared during last week’s meeting.

Now their citizen lead communications committee is hosting a township broadband dinner at Bloom Lake Barn on September 5th from 6pm-8pm. It’s an opportunity for community members to come, ask questions and learn more. I think it’s a great way to build community support. I plan to attend and will report back.

FCC authorizes $4.9 billion in A-CAM – $569 million in MN

The FCC reports

Taking further steps to close the digital divide, the Federal Communications Commission today authorized over $4.9 billion in support over the next decade for maintaining, improving, and expanding affordable rural broadband for 455,334 homes and businesses served by 171 carriers in 39 states and American Samoa, including 44,243 locations on Tribal lands.

The support is targeted to smaller rural carriers, traditionally known as “rate-of-return” carriers.  These carriers agreed this year to accept subsidies based on the FCC’s Alternative Connect America Cost Model, or A-CAM, which provides predictability, rewards efficiency, and provides more value for each taxpayer dollar.  The homes and businesses are located in sparsely populated rural areas where the per-location price of deployment and ongoing costs of providing broadband service are high, requiring support from the FCC’s Universal Service Fund to facilitate network improvements and keep rates reasonably comparable to those in urban areas.

In return for the support that is being approved today, carriers must maintain, improve, and expand broadband throughout their service areas, including providing service of at least 25 Megabits per second downstream and 3 Mbps upstream to over 363,000 locations, including more than 37,000 locations on Tribal lands.  Providers will be held accountable through an enforceable schedule for delivering improved and expanded service, with the first interim deployment obligation occurring in 2022.

Minnesota is one of the biggest recipient with $569,183,965 going to better serve 55,520 locations over the next 10 years.

I know this info below will not transfer well to the website BUT you can download a spreadsheet of which carriers got funding, how much, for how many areas at which speeds and more…

Carrier Holding company Annual support Locations
 ALBN  Albany Mutual Telephone Association             1,741,828                      2,376
 ALLN  Alliance Communications Cooperative, Inc.                518,742                         667
 BNTN2  Benton Cooperative Telephone Company             2,592,147                      3,724
 FDRT  Federated Telephone Cooperative             3,392,869                      2,122
 FRMR8  Farmers Mutual Tel             1,693,615                      1,094
 GRDN  Gardonville Cooperative Telephone Association             2,119,740                      3,090
 GRDN2  Garden Valley Telephone Company           13,610,263                    10,737
 HLST  Halstad Telephone Company             1,098,297                         707
 HRMN  Harmony Telephone Company                578,457                         583
 JHNS  Johnson Telephone Company             2,363,306                      3,063
 KSSN  Kasson & Mantorville Telephone Company             1,558,090                      1,574
 LNSD  Lonsdale Telephone Company                486,808                         710
 LSMR  Lismore Cooperative Telephone Company                576,970                         382
 PLBN  Paul Bunyan Rural Telephone Cooperative           11,501,395                    13,727
 PLRC  Polar Communication Mutual Aid Corporation                261,923                         182
 RNST  Runestone Telephone Association             4,429,214                      3,627
 SPRN4  Spring Grove Communications                777,675                         531
 UPSL  Upsala Cooperative Telephone Association             1,207,710                      1,157
 WDST  Woodstock Telephone Company             1,416,710                      1,067
 WNNB  Winnebago Cooperative Telephone Association                782,481                         688
 WSTC2  West Central Telephone Assn.             4,210,156                      3,712