Sherburne County to invest $1.5 million from ARPA in better broadband

Patriot News reports...

Sherburne County Commissioners approved a $1.5 million grant program to expand broadband service to unserved and underserved areas of the county.

The money will help bring reliable, affordable high-speed internet to more Sherburne County households and businesses, with the funds coming from the America Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

The grants will be awarded to service providers for eligible projects that provide service designed to reliably meet or exceed a symmetrical 100 Mbps download and upload speeds or, where symmetrical 100 Mbps speeds are not practicable, 100 Mbps download and at least 20 Mbps upload speeds.

They are looking for provider partners…

Sherburne County will accept applications for Broadband Access Grants through Sept. 30, 2022. Interested parties can find a link to the application at the county’s website: http://www.co.sherburne.mn.us.

OPPORTUNITY: Sherburne County to invest $1.5 million ARPA funds into better broadband

KSNI radio St Cloud reports

A $1.5 million grant program for broadband service expansion in Sherburne County has been approved.

Sherburne County Commissioners approved the money, which will come from American Rescue Plan Act Funding, to help bring affordable, reliable, high-speed internet service to more homes and businesses. The grants will be awarded for eligible projects that meet or exceed certain upload and download speeds.

“Investing in broadband is a County Board priority that creates opportunities to boost growth and prosperity throughout Sherburne County,” said Board Chair Barbara Burandt.

Applications will be accepted through September 30th.

Learn more by clicking here.

Thomson Township pledge ARPA funds for Border to Border applications in Carlton County

The Pine Journal reports

Thomson Township supervisors made a resolution of support and pledged $187,500 to two broadband initiatives in the area during a meeting Thursday, July 21.

The two initiatives include a Mediacom broadband expansion and joining the Cloquet broadband project, both of which are applying to secure state funding for their projects.

Leah Pykkonen, the township’s deputy clerk, presented the Mediacom proposal to the board and explained its benefits.

According to Pykkonen, the project would cover 420 homes in the northern part of the township and connect to the existing infrastructure.

They will be using ARPA funds…

Town Clerk Rhonda Peleski said the township has $565,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds, and some of it could be allocated for broadband expansion. …

After some deliberation between board members, they agreed on pledging $150,000 to the Mediacom project.

The Cloquet broadband project, which the supervisors also pledged support to, has a smaller scope for the township as it would only cover 92 homes.

With that in mind, Paulson said it would make sense to give the project 25% of the funding, $37,500, as it would be closer to an equal share compared to the number of homes covered with the Mediacom project.

Sherburne County and Arvig partner of Border to Border grant applications for Haven Twp., Clear Lake Twp. and Elk River.

Patriot News reports

After 15-minute discussion last Tuesday, the Sherburne County Board Tuesday approved three grant applications by Arvig for broadband projects in Haven Twp., Clear Lake Twp. and Elk River.

Arvig has requested to partner with Sherburne County on 2022 State of MN Border to Border Broadband program applications. 

The grants are $666,406 for the Haven Twp. project, $192,477 in Clear Lake Twp. and $217,060.50 in Elk River. The board passed a resolution of commitment of 30% contribution for each project. Should Arvig be awarded any of the grants by the state, the county’s contribution (using ARPA funds) would be $499,804.50 for Haven Twp., $144,357.75 for Clear Lake Twp. and $162,795.38 for Elk River.

The projects would serve a total of 254 homes for the three projects combined.

The board tabled its decision on proposed broadband projects in Santiago Twp. and Becker Twp. until August. 

Otter Tail County invests $2.8 million of ARPA funds on broadband

Perham Focus reports

Otter Tail County commissioners have pinpointed how to spend about half of the $11.4 million allocated to the county via the American Rescue Plan Act.

During the County Board meeting on Tuesday, July 12 resolutions on fund allocations were reviewed. The funds come with stipulations, such as to decrease the spread of the virus, replace lost revenue for governmental entities, economic stabilization and to address public health challenges.

Here’s the broadband related investment…

  • $2.8 million (or technology) will go to technological infrastructure, such as broadband access expansion. It was noted the improvements in the county would also utilize state and federal sources.
  • $150,000 was earmarked for funding a jobs portal for three years. The strategy supports efforts to attract new employees and by doing so support businesses in the county that provide a living wage.

Arvig and Redwood County seek a Border to Border grant for better broadband

Telecompetitor reports

Regional provider Arvig and Redwood County, Minnesota, have agreed to work together on a $4.4 million public-private partnership to bring fiber to eight cities in the county.

The linchpin of the project will be approval of an application for a $1.3 million grant that Arvig and the county will make to the State of Minnesota Border to Border Broadband Development Grant program.

That funding would be supplemented by $1.2 million from Arvig and a local match of $1.9 million from the county. The county’s contribution will be money secured through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

If the Border to Border grant is received, the project will bring 1 Gbps connectivity to residential customers and 10 Gbps service to businesses in Belview, Clements, Morgan, Seaforth, Vesta, Wabasso, Walnut Grove and Wanda. More than 1,870 structures will be served, which represents about 30% of Redwood County residents.

If it goes forward, the Arvig public-private partnership project would be completed in June, 2025.

Treasury Announces Four Capital Projects Fund Awards – including $68.4 million in MN

The US Department of the Treasury reports

Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced the approval of an additional group of four states under the American Rescue Plan’s Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund (CPF): Kansas, Maine, Maryland, and Minnesota. The CPF provides $10 billion to states, territories, freely associated states, and Tribal governments to fund critical capital projects that enable work, education, and health monitoring in response to the public health emergency. A key priority of the program is to make funding available for reliable, affordable broadband infrastructure and other digital connectivity technology projects. In addition to the $10 billion provided by the CPF, many governments are using a portion of their State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) toward meeting the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of connecting every American household to affordable, reliable high-speed internet. Through these two programs, the American Rescue Plan is supplying considerable federal broadband funding and laying the groundwork for future funding provided in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Here’s info on the award in Minnesota…

Minnesota, approved for $68.4 million (representing 38% of its available CPF funding), estimates it will connect 23,517 homes and businesses by using the funds for its Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program, a competitive grant program designed to provide financial resources for new and existing ISPs to invest in building broadband infrastructure in areas of the state that currently lack high-speed internet.

Mediacom Communications Unveils Public-Private Partnership to Expand High-Speed Internet Availability in St. Louis County, MN

Press release from Mediacom…

Officials in Lakewood Township and St. Louis County announced a new public-private partnership with Mediacom Communications that will result in the construction of a 60-mile fiber-optic network offering ultra-high-speed fiber broadband services to homes and businesses throughout Lakewood Township.
The fiber-to-the-premises project will make broadband internet service with symmetrical, Gigabit speeds available to over 1,200 existing homes and businesses throughout the township.
The total project will cost approximately $3.7 million. St. Louis County is allocating $345,000 through Broadband Grant dollars towards the project and Lakewood Township is providing an additional $50,000 of its ARPA dollars. Mediacom is supplying the remaining $3.3 million with
its own private capital. Construction of the 60-mile fiber-optic network will start this month and is expected to take two years. Most of the network will be placed underground.
“For Lakewood Township residents and businesses this is a monumental opportunity. Access to reliable and economically feasible broadband for Lakewood Township residents and businesses has become a necessity for access to education, employment, health care and livelihood” said
Lakewood Township Board Supervisor and Board Chair Diane Holliday-Welsh.
“In Lakewood Township it is estimated that 95% of our Township is unserved or underserved.
This opportunity with St. Louis County and partnership with Mediacom significantly reduces the Lakewood gap. On behalf of Lakewood Township, we applaud the intentional focus of the St. Louis County Planning Department, County Board, Commissioner Keith Musolf (rep. Lakewood)
and each Commissioner on resolving the underserved and unserved broadband issue across the County,” said Holliday-Welsh.
“Mediacom is working on multiple fronts to close the digital divide, and we’re proud to make this investment to benefit residents in Lakewood Township,” said Mediacom Area Operations Director Jason Janesich. “Local leaders in the township and St. Louis County have prioritized the need for all residents to have access to reliable and affordable broadband, and their commitment to a public-private partnership will meet that need with an extensive, fiber-to-thepremises network offering gigabit-speed broadband.”

Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe gets $3.1 million funding (ARPA) to boost entrepreneurship

Senator Smith’s website reports

U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) announced that the Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded $3.1 million in federal funding for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, Onamia, Minnesota to boost tribal entrepreneurship. Specifically, the funding, provided through the American Rescue Plan’s Indigenous Communities program, will enable the construction of a tribal business incubator to help small businesses and start-ups access technical assistance they need to increase and expand their operations.

“This federal funding will make a real difference for the Mille Lacs Band Reservation, helping establish a business incubator that will boost small businesses and spur entrepreneurship,” said Klobuchar. “I’ll keep pushing to make sure our tribal communities have the resources they need to pursue economic opportunities.”

“Minnesota’s Tribal Nations have deep cultural and economic significance across our state,” said Smith. “I am pleased to announce this investment in the Mille Lacs Band reservation in Minnesota, which will help to grow and diversify the local economy. This investment, made possible by the American Rescue Plan, will create jobs and generate private investment so that the local economy can build back stronger in the wake of the pandemic.”

“President Biden is committed to ensuring that our communities are provided with the resources they need to diversify and grow their economies,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe business incubator project will spur private investment and job creation throughout the reservation.”

This project is funded under EDA’s American Rescue Plan Indigenous Communities program, which allocates $100 million in American Rescue Plan funding specifically to support the needs of Tribal Governments and Indigenous communities. The program supports these partners to develop and execute economic development projects they need to recover from the pandemic and build economies for the future.

Klobuchar and Smith have long worked to strengthen economic opportunities for Minnesota’s tribal communities. In April, they secured over $1 million in federal funding to provide emerging businesses in the Mille Lacs Band with necessary support and technical services.

Murray County approves $500,000 ARPA for broadband and plans to apply for MN Border to Border funds

The Globe reports

The Murray County Board of Commissioners convened a special session earlier this week to discuss funding options for broadband in Murray County and American Rescue Plan expenditures.

Based on a 2018 feasibility study, estimates are it would cost more than $21 million to get broadband installed across Murray County, a task that was ruled unfeasible without a private partnership, multiple rounds of grants, or both. The same study found that, were broadband available, roughly 2,690 customers would take advantage of the service.

They made some decisions…

Murray County currently has $500,000 set aside in ARPA funds that can be used. Other grants in the 30% to 40% matching range were also discussed, with the acknowledgment that most would require approval. Most grants are going to require a financial commitment from a local government.

The Board resolved to apply for the Border-to-Border grant while using $500,000 in ARPA funds as the county’s investment requirement, and see how much area they could cover with those funds. Meanwhile, they said they would address the matter further at a June 21 meeting, should more funding be needed. The board also suggested looking into partnering with internet service providers such as Woodstock Communications and Lismore Telecom for a joint grant project.

Commissioner Lori Gunnick noted that without broadband, Murray County was likely to continue to see a population decline.

St Louis County (MN) has ARPA funds available for broadband

Business North reports

Meanwhile, St. Louis County still has more than $610,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to distribute for eligible broadband projects. This includes $175,000 for broadband project planning costs, and $438,000 for project implementation costs. These funds are intended to increase broadband access in unserved and underserved communities in St. Louis County. More information on use of these funds can be found online at stlouiscountymn.gov/broadband. Any local jurisdiction interested in applying for these funds should contact Brad Gustafson, St. Louis County Community Development Manager, at gustafsonb@stlouiscountymn.gov or 218-742-9563.

The article also mentions the Border to Border grants, which are available to the entire state.

Scandia MN gets ARPA and RDOF funds for better broadband (Washington County)

The County Messenger reports

Last month, MidCo started work on the city’s 2022 internet expansion program. In 2020, the city of Scandia and the Internet Action Committee (IAC), established the expansion program as part of a five-year plan to increase internet speeds and accessibility within Scandia.

The goal is to add an average of 200 homes per year for the next five years (2020-2024). The city has been working with county, state and federal resources to secure funding for the project. “The city’s goal is to provide high-speed internet coverage to citizens of Scandia quickly at the lowest cost to the city by leveraging grants,” said City Administrator for Scandia, Ken Cammelliri.

Earlier this spring, the City of Scandia and MidCo were awarded a $100,000 grant through Washington County. Washington County was allocating $2 million for investments in broadband seeking request for funds. Cities, Townships and broadband providers were eligible to apply. Eligible project areas include any unserved or underserved area within Washington County. The city of Scandia was one of the first to apply for the grant. Funds for the grant come from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

“For purposes of the ARPA broadband grant, an unserved or underserved area includes households or businesses that are not currently serviced by a wireline connection that delivers reliable broadband service with a minimum speeds of 100Mbps download and 20Mbps upload,” explained Jan Lucke, Deputy County Administrator for Washington County.

In addition to the grant, MidCo also received dollars from the Federal Rural Digital Opportunities Fund (RDOF.)

More detail…

“The build-out for 2022 includes 48 houses that will be covered by RDOF. The project area that’s involved with the grant money from Washington County is what we refer to as Oak Hill Rd North,” he explained.

“The remaining 114 homes for this year are to be covered by the City of Scandia and Washington County grants.”

The funds will help offset the costs for the 2022 construction season. The cost to the city will be $219,000. The cost to MidCo will be $259,736.

 

Broadband funding results from MN Legislative Session 2022

Here is the most succinct description of future funding approved in Minnesota by the Legislature (from the Minneapolis Star Tribune)…

Broadband: State leaders will spend $50 million over the next three years to expand high-speed internet access through a border-to-border broadband grant program. Minnesota is also using federal dollars for broadband development, with $60.7 million from the American Rescue Plan and $100 million in Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act cash.

Kandiyohi County, Charter Communications partner on $800,000 broadband project to serve 170 customers with ARPA funds

West Central Tribune reports…

Elected officials from Kandiyohi County and representatives from Charter Communications symbolically broke ground Monday on an $800,000 project that Charter said will bring broadband internet service to more than 170 rural, unserved homes and small businesses.

The event in New London Township was also a celebration of the partnerships between local elected officials and Charter Communications that made the project possible.

The agreement between Kandiyohi County and Charter Communications includes nearly $240,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funding that was secured by the county, along with more than $563,000 in private investment from Charter.

St. Louis County says yes to Rice Lake broadband project

Duluth News Tribune reports

The city of Rice Lake will bring broadband internet to its City Hall and connect more than 200 households and businesses, following a decision by the St. Louis County Board last week.

The board voted unanimously to support $400,000 to go with a city of Rice Lake match to make the $835,835 deal a reality.

Consolidated Telephone Co., headquartered in Brainerd, has committed $35,835 toward the project, and is contracted to install the fiber-optic network.

“We’re looking at 267 connections with this project,” Rice Lake City Councilor Suzanne Herstad told the board May 3 in Duluth. “Hopefully, this will still be a good building block to start doing a piece here and there, setting up loops wherever we can.”

Herstad noted the failure of a larger federal application, and still wanting to partner on continued efforts at improved rural broadband connectivity with Gnesen Township to the north, and Lakewood, Grand Lake and Normanna townships in surrounding directions.

They are using ARP funding…

“This is a much-scaled-down project,” Herstad said, explaining how Rice Lake City Hall, 4107 W. Beyer Road, had been using satellite internet, but is required to hold a static internet protocol address in order to conduct election business.