Morcom Township (St Louis County) hoping for a MN broadband grant

The Timberjay reports…

Residents here, who have been without reliable Internet access for years, could soon have some of the best broadband speeds in the area, if final funding from the state’s Border-to-Border grant program is approved later this year.

The Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation recently approved a $224,800 grant to the township, which means Morcom Township has now secured three-quarters of the $899,200 they’ll need to bring broadband to the 126 unserved and underserved households in the township and in an adjacent unorganized township to the north. Morcom Township is located west of Cook.

“We are just waiting to hear in December if we qualified for the state Border to Border grant,” said Morcom Town Clerk Sasha Lehto. Morcom is asking for $331,704 in border-to-border funding under a plan to utilize Paul Bunyan Communications as the township’s broadband provider. Paul Bunyan would commit $332,696 to the effort. Morcom Township has committed $10,000 in township funds for the project.

“This was out of our really small budget,” said Lehto, “but either you want it or you don’t. This is for our people.”

The need for reliable internet service in the Morcom Township area is clear.

The article demonstrates the importance of the MN grants. The hope they bring but in reality the state grants are the difference between a community getting improved broadband or not. I saw the difference it made looking at the most recent MN broadband county profiles – counties with grants saw improvement.

The article outlines a few project proposals from the area…

IRRR grants for broadband projects were also approved for:

 $579,272 to Bois Forte Band of Chippewa for the construction of a fiber network to serve 442 unserved and underserved households on the reservation. Total project cost is $2,317,090.

 $105,450 for Ash River for the construction of a broadband network for 121 unserved and underserved households in the Ash River area. Total project cost is $421,800.

 $236,050 for the Elephant and Black Duck lake areas for the construction of a fiber network to serve 124 unserved and underserved households near Elephant Lake. Total project cost is $944,200.

Both Paul Bunyan Communications (Ash River and Elephant Lake) and Consolidated Telephone Company (Bois Forte) are provider partners for these projects. All these projects are also scheduled to receive state funding from the Border to Border program (pending final approval).

Four companies seek broadband grants for Douglas County

The Alexandria Echo Press reports…

Four companies have applied for state grants to expand internet access next year in Douglas County, according to records made public last week.

Arvig, Charter, Gardonville Cooperative Telephone Association and Runestone Telecom Association are all seeking some of the $20 million the Minnesota Legislature approved this year to help expand high-quality internet access throughout the state.

They took a look at how the providers chose their areas…

Gardonville Cooperative Telephone Association has applied for six grants, responding to neighborhoods that organized and asked for service, said Executive Director Dave Wolf.

“The neighborhoods we selected were all unserved as far as the state map was concerned,” he said. “We had been reached out to by residents in those neighborhoods.”

A Lake Victoria neighborhood was particularly active, he said, with residents helping to organize their neighbors.

“It’s a grass roots thing, very effective, but we encourage that,” Wolf said.

Next year, Gardonville would like to run fiber to 600 homes, including 300 existing customers and 300 new customers, he said. Gardonville chose to break up its grant requests into six projects, hoping that if one grant gets turned down, another will win approval.

Meanwhile, Runestone applied for just one grant, but it covers a sizable chunk of turf south of Interstate 94.

“This is by far the biggest one that we’ve applied for,” Hedstrom said. Runestone’s first grant was for 100 locations and its second was for 400 locations. This one includes 965 locations.

“We kind of went where people called, and where people contacted us,” he said. “It doesn’t make much sense to do (Lake) Andrew and Forada and skip everybody in between. They’re just as important as everybody else.”

And here’s a look at the specifics…

It’s unlikely that all these projects would receive full funding from Minnesota’s Border-to-Border grant program. However, they outline the neighborhoods that internet providers in Douglas County want to reach. Every project listed here would provide internet speeds well above the state’s goals.


  • Along U.S. Highway 29 southwest of Carlos, including Maple Way and Maple Lane NE. It would provide speeds of 940 megabits per second download and 35 megabits per second upload.


  • South of the interstate on the north side of Lake Andrew
  • Between Lakes Darling and Ida, around Lake Charley
  • Southeast of Garfield, along Centennial Drive NW from N. Oaks Lane NW to County Road 22 NW
  • Inside the wishbone of Lake Victoria, along its eastern shoreline
  • Near the Minnesouri Club, along Krohnfeldt Drive on Lake Miltona
  • Around Lakes Mina and Latoka
  • Gardonville would provide speeds of one gigabit upload and one gigabit download.


  • Just one grant, but it’s a biggie, looping a chunk of Douglas County south of I-94. Like Gardonville, it would provide one gigabit down and one gigabit up.


  • It also wants grant money to install connections in Forada and around Maple Lake; it would provide speeds of one gigabit down and 100 megabits up.

The Echo Press did a nice job getting info that is helpful to the community and beyond!


2019 Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program Applications Received—Challenge Process Begins

Highlights from the Office of Broadband Development:

  • 78 applications came in for broadband funding
  • Challenges to those applications must be in by Oct 18

Full news…

Seventy-eight (78) applications for the 2019 Border-to-Border Broadband Development grant program were received by the September 13 deadline. The Office of Broadband Development has initiated the challenge process required by Minnesota law (Minn. Stat. 116J.395 subd. 5a) concurrent with its review of the applications. A list of the applications filed and instructions on how to file a challenge, if necessary, are available at under the “Challenge Process” tab.  Any challenges must be submitted in writing by 4:00 p.m., Friday, October 18, 2019 to the Office of Broadband Development, 1st National Bank Building, 332 Minnesota Street, Suite E200, St. Paul, MN 55101.



Pipestone County broadband expansion is completed

The Pipestone Star reports…

An estimated 135 Pipestone County households that did not previously have access to broadband internet now do following the completion of a nearly $1 million project by Woodstock Communications.

The project included the installation of about 20 miles of fiber optic cable, two new communications towers — one in Altona Township and one in Eden Township — and the installation of equipment on two existing towers near Trosky and north of Pipestone. Terry Nelson, general manager for Woodstock Communications, said the project was completed around Aug. 1.

Internet through the new hybrid fiber and wireless system exceeds the federal definition of broadband internet, which is 25 megabits (Mbps) downloading and 3 Mbps uploading, in most areas. Nelson said the wireless internet service can provide internet speeds up to 50 Mbps downloading and 25 Mbps uploading within about six miles of the towers. …

In addition to the 135 households, the expanded broadband service is expected to make high speed internet service available to 540 previously unserved businesses and one unserved community anchor institution, the Altona Township Hall.

Woodstock Communications received a $363,851 Border-to-Border Broadband Grant from the state of Minnesota in the fall of 2017 to pay for a portion of the cost of the project. The project was expected to be completed and providing service late last year, but Nelson said the project was delayed by the permitting process and the weather this past spring.

Now that it’s complete, Nelson said the company is testing the services with about a dozen customers. It then plans to begin marketing the service more broadly in the next few weeks.

Mower supports MIDCO’s MN Broadband grant application

Austin Daily Herald reports…

With a vote of approval during Tuesday’s county board meeting, Mower County is on a higher-speed trek to gaining rural broadband access to all of its residents.

The Mower County Board unanimously approved a resolution, along with a letter of support for Mid Continent Communication (MIDCO) choosing the county as a project site to receive high-speed internet access for 9,371 places for optical fiber and terrestrial fixed wireless access, in a 5-0 vote. Commissioner Jerry Reinartz made the motion, with Commissioner Polly Glynn seconding. …

Mower County was one of the counties identified and chosen by MIDCO to be a recipient of the grant if successful with the application. The grant would be between $300,000 to $500,000 for bringing high-speed internet access to residents. Officials are looking to keep deployment costs under $5,000 per home.

Then, MIDCO would deploy fixed wireless assets in a six- to seven-mile radius within those communities.


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.