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 http://mn.gov/deed/programs-services/broadband/grant-program/index.jsp 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.

Minnesota Broadband Grants by County and Tribal Area

I am starting the annual County Profiles series – where I look at how each county is doing with broadband. I enjoy doing it but right now it feels a little like I’m standing on the high dive – 87 counties is a long way down.

In preparation, I created a list of MN border to border grant broadband received in each county (and tribal area), I thought it might be useful to some folks. It’s long; you can also download the Word Doc… (Please let me know if you have any corrections!)

Minnesota Broadband Grants by County and Tribal Area

Aitkin

2017 – SCI (Savage Communications Inc.) – Shamrock Township Broadband Expansion – GRANT $148,503
This last mile project will serve 374 unserved households near and around the Big Sandy Lake area in Aitkin County.  In a funding partnership with the State of Minnesota, SCI Broadband will improve broadband service levels to 250 Mbps down and 20 Mbps up, meeting and exceeding the 2026 state speed goal. SCI will leverage its existing middle mile infrastructure to deploy a last mile fiber to the premise network to local businesses and residents. Building the fiber to the premise network will improve access to education, telemedicine, telecommuting and economic development as a whole within the region.

2016 – MILLE LACS ENERGY COOPERATIVE FTTP PROJECT – GRANT: $1,757,640
This last mile project will serve 763 unserved households, 2 unserved businesses, 2 unserved community anchor institutions and 31 underserved households and 2 underserved businesses in Aitkin County in north central Minnesota. In a funding partnership with the State of Minnesota, MLEC and Consolidated Telecommunications Company (CTC) will improve service levels in the project area to Gigabit speeds via fiber-to-the-home, exceeding 2026 state speed goals and bringing vital communications to Aitkin and Mille Lacs Counties. The initial project phase is located entirely within Aitkin County, the most unserved of all of Minnesota’s 87 counties. CTC and MLEC are both cooperatives, following the 6th cooperative principle: Cooperation amongst cooperatives. This unique partnership will build a robust, future-proof network that helps provide new business solutions, along with enhanced employment, health care, and educational experiences. Total eligible project cost is $3,515,280. Local match is $1,757,640.

Anoka

2016 – BENTON COOPERATIVE TELEPHONE COMPANY RAMEY – GRANT: $225,100
This last mile project will serve 122 unserved households and 5 unserved businesses in the rural Ramey, MN exchange. In a funding partnership with the State of Minnesota, Benton Cooperative will improve unserved levels to 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload, reaching the 2026 state speed goal, increasing opportunities for educational access for all ages, telemedicine, telecommuting, and improved business development. Total eligible project cost is $776,220. Local match is $551,120.

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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 Koochiching.tech or email info@koochiching.tech.