I’ve written about this opportunity in the past but figured sharing a timely reminder from DEED would be helpful…
Ahead of an important April 30 deadline, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is encouraging Minnesotans to apply for its Line Extension Program to connect homes and businesses to high-speed broadband.
The DEED Office of Broadband Development’s Line Extension Program connects internet service providers to residents and businesses that lack high-speed broadband.
If applicants are in areas where high-speed broadband is available, DEED will help service providers contact applicants about connecting to the service. If no provider offers broadband at an applicant’s address, the Line Extension Program awards grants for providers who want to extend existing broadband infrastructure to the unserved locations, providing higher-speed internet to more people around the state.
Minnesota residents and businesses that lack access to broadband speeds of at least 25 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 3Mbps upload can apply online through the Office of Broadband Development. They can also request a paper application by calling 651-259-7610 or emailing DEED.email@example.com. Minnesotans are encouraged to apply even if they do not know their existing Internet speeds.
“High-speed broadband helps families stay connected to work, school, and healthcare. It allows businesses big and small to reach more customers and grow” said Bree Maki, executive director of the Office of Broadband Development at DEED. “The Line Extension Program is one of the ways DEED is connecting more people to the broadband they need. We encourage Minnesotans who need faster connections to apply for this program.”
While DEED will accept applications throughout the year, the Office of Broadband Development will only review applications, contact applicants, and award extension grants every six months. The first review period begins on May 1, meaning Minnesotans hoping to participate most quickly should apply before then.
The Legislature created the Line Extension Program in 2022, allocating $15 million for broadband extension grants to further DEED’s mission to connect more Minnesotans to high-speed broadband. Minnesota’s 2026 goal is that all homes and businesses have access to broadband with download speeds of at least 100Mbps and upload speeds of at least 20 Mbps.
Line Extension is one of several programs DEED’s Office of Broadband Development administers to expand Minnesota’s broadband access.
Last year the agency announced the state’s largest-ever investment in broadband when it awarded $99.6 million in grants through the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant program to 61 expansion projects around the state. The funding will connect more than 33,000 Minnesota homes and businesses in 48 counties to high speed broadband. Legislative leaders and Governor Walz have agreed to provide $100 million this session to fund future Border-to-Border grants.
“Programs like Line Extension show how Minnesota’s legislators, private sector, DEED, and the rest of the Walz-Flanagan Administration are working together to bring high-speed broadband to everyone in Minnesota,” said DEED Temporary Commissioner Kevin McKinnon. “We appreciate this ongoing partnership and look forward to helping more people access important high-speed broadband.”