Office of Broadband Development Program Call for Border to Border Broadband Grant Applications

I wish I had a drum roll. Good luck to everyone!

The Office of Broadband Development (OBD) unit is soliciting applications for the Border to Border Broadband grant funding of broadband projects.

Submission Deadlines and Requirements

The deadline for the applications is 4 p.m., on Friday, September 13.

Application proposals must be mailed or delivered to:
Office of Broadband Development MN Department of Employment and Economic Development
First National Bank Building
332 Minnesota Street – Suite E200
St. Paul, MN 55101-1351

Application submittals must include three full sets of paper copies, and one additional electronic set in Microsoft Word format on a USB drive. They must be received by the deadline to be considered for funding.

Contact Information

For questions regarding this application process, please contact OBD Staff at 651-259-7610 or deed.broadband@state.mn.us

Senator Anderson reports on $40 million for MN broadband grants

Minnesota Senate Republican Caucus reports an update from Senator Anderson…

Rural communities need fast and efficient access to online education, resources, and other important services. We invested $40 million to expand rural broadband this year to continue the effort to provide rural areas the same opportunities as those in more metro areas. You can visit the Minnesota Rural Broadband Coalition’s website for more details on the expansion: http://mnbroadbandcoalition.com/

We already have more ideas for next session and we always have our farmers in mind while we are working at the Capitol. We rely on them and we are thankful for all the work they do for our state. Please reach out with any additional questions or concerns.

Next week, we will look at the highlights in the Commerce, Jobs, and Energy budget. I hope you enjoy your weekend!

Kandiyohi County moves forward with broadband engineering study

West Central Tribune reports…

Kandiyohi County is taking fresh aim at a long-sought goal of widening the availability of high-speed internet service, especially to neighborhoods that remain unserved or underserved.

The County Board voted Tuesday to help fund an engineering study that will examine the feasibility of bringing broadband to rural homes and businesses in Dovre, Mamre and St. Johns townships.

The ultimate goal is another shot at grant dollars from the border-to-border program of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

The article also give a little history…

The county and the Economic Development Commission had high hopes two years ago when the state Office of Broadband Technology awarded a $4.9 million grant to help develop broadband in rural northern Kandiyohi County. But the project struggled to reach fruition and was abandoned in the summer of 2017 after the county’s broadband partner, Consolidated Telecommunications Co., withdrew its participation, forcing the county to forfeit the grant money.

“It was so close and it didn’t happen,” said Larry Kleindl, county administrator.

It was a setback but advocates for local broadband never gave up, he said. “We agreed we weren’t going to quit. … We’re trying to find the tool and the mechanism to do this.”

What’s different this time is that the proposed project has multiple partners — the three townships, Kandiyohi County and telecommunications provider Arvig — willing to take the lead. The proposed service area is also more geographically compact.

Rep. John Persell says “Broadband will create new jobs”

The Bemidji Pioneer posts a letter from Rep. John Persell…

The Legislature adjourned on May 25 after a productive session. We were able to work together and pass a budget that reflects the values we share as Minnesotans. …

Expanding reliable broadband service will create new jobs in Greater Minnesota. The budget also includes the strongest protections against wage theft in the United States.

Minnesota Chamber of Commerce thinks broadband is good session outcome

The Duluth News Tribune reports on the recent Minnesota budget…

Lawmakers passed and the governor signed into law new grant funds to grow the number of child care slots available in the state, with a portion specifically earmarked for Greater Minnesota communities. They approved bond sales to pay for $60 million unmet housing needs, blocked out $40 million to go toward building out broadband and greenlighted job training and business development programs set to affect rural parts of the state.

And as part of a tax bill, they set up new property tax reductions for business owners and for farmers.

“I think from the perspective of making Minnesota affordable for families, the child care grants, the housing appropriations, the broadband funding for businesses and the business property tax reductions, that’s a good session,” Laura Bordelon, senior vice president for advocacy at the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, said. “That’s a good session for employers.”

Senator Sparks talks up $40 million for MN broadband grants

The Albert Lea Tribune posts a letter from  Senator Sparks…

The major pieces of the new budget are a 2% increase on the basic funding formula for education, in addition to allocating money for special education and early childhood education. We have also increased the amount of funding for the Border-to-Border Broadband program from $30 million to $40 million. The budget agreement also now includes $52 million in aid to cities and counties through local government aid (LGA) and county program aid (CPA), which will help stabilize property taxes.

Reading of the Ag, Rural Dev and Housing Omnibus – still $40M for broadband

Last night I attended the reading of the Omnibus budget that includes $40 million for broadband over the next two years. Here are the documents they discussed:

There wasn’t much about broadband, except that Senator Westrom made a point at the end to say, “Rural broadband is a strong augmentation to the bill we have put together.”