Skip to main content

These 41 Minnesota counties will benefit from $23M in rural broadband funding

The program aims to provide high-speed broadband to all homes and businesses by 2022.

As part of an initiative to make high-speed internet more available in rural Minnesota, Gov. Tim Walz announced more than $23 million in grant money Tuesday.

In total, 41 counties and reservations will benefit from telecoms projects funded by the grant money, which is being matched by local funding.

The funds are part of the Department of Employment and Economic Development’s Border-to-Border Broadband Development grant program. DEED Commissioner Steve Grove said improved broadband in greater Minnesota is important for increased economic inclusion.

“You simply can’t participate in the innovation sector — or almost any sector of the economy today, for that matter — without high speed access to the internet,” Grove said in a statement. “These grants help us reach that last mile of service in Minnesota and our goal to be a model state where you don’t have to move to a metro area to participate in the 21st century economy.”

The program, in its fifth year, has provided broadband access to around 49,000 homes and businesses since 2014, with the funding announced this week expected to benefit a further 10,900 homes and businesses.

The state’s ultimate goal is to ensure all homes and businesses have access to broadband with a minimum download speed of 25 megabits per second by 2022.

Among the grants approved is $1.151 million for Wikstrom Telephone in northwest Minnesota, which is being matched by $1.4 million in local funding.

It will be used to upgrade 316 currently unserved locations across five counties: Kittson, Marshall, Lake of the Woods, Pennington, and Roseau.

This will improve broadband leaves up to 1 Gbps download and upload, exceeding the state's 2022 and 2026 speed goals.

Broadband Grants_2019Projects_wAwardAmounts-1

One of the largest grants is going to Paul Bunyan Communications, which is receiving $2.5 million – combined with $3.7 million of local funding – to upgrade 914 unservedand 439 underserved areas in the Leech Lake Indian Reservation and rural parts of Cass, Itasca, Koochiching and St. Louis counties.

Broadband access was a prominent topic of the last legislative session, with Walz approving $40 million for the Border-to-Border Broadband Development program. 

These are the counties and reservations that will benefit from the funding:

Aitkin County

Becker County

Benton County

Bois Forte Reservation

Brown County

Carlton County (project for Fond Du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa)

Cass County

Chisago County

Clay County

Crow Wing County

Dakota County

Douglas County

Faribault County

Goodhue County

Hennepin County

Houston County

Itasca County

Kittson County

Koochiching County

Lake of the Woods County

Le Sueur County

Marshall County

Martin County

Mille Lacs County

Morrison County

Olmsted County

Otter Tail County

Pennington County

Polk County

Redwood County

Renville County

Rice County

Roseau County

Scott County

St. Louis County

Stearns County

Todd County

Wadena County

Washington County

Winona County

Wright County

Next Up

Jason Hackett

New face joining KARE 11's 'Sunrise' morning show

Jason Hackett will be joining Alicia Lewis and Guy Brown on KARE 11's morning show.

Screen Shot 2022-11-30 at 4.04.09 PM

Armed robbery suspect sought in two south metro investigations

The incidents took place at credit unions in Savage and Apple Valley.

image

Former Twin Cities plastic surgeon charged with sex crimes

Christopher Kovanda is accused of inappropriately touching woman under the guise of providing medical care.

Screen Shot 2022-11-15 at 4.23.26 PM

Minnesota man accused of murder in Chicago is arrested in Alabama

A 26-year-old man from a small town on the Iowa border is accused of murdering a Greyhound bus employee.

DougKeddieShakopeeSchools

Support for Shakopee Public Schools employee diagnosed with cancer

The media specialist has been transitioned to hospice care recently.

snow

Big November snowstorms uncommon in MN, but snowfall is increasing

This week's 8.4 inches at MSP Airport was one of the biggest November storms in the Twin Cities since 1991.

MNASecondStrike

Minnesota nurses take vote on whether to hold second strike

The results will be determined Wednesday night.

unsplash medical marijuana

OCD, irritable bowel syndrome added to MN's medical marijuana list

They are the two latest qualifying medical conditions for Minnesota's marijuana program.

Screen Shot 2022-11-30 at 9.27.45 AM

Fundraiser created for family-owned Cô Tu' Oriental Cuisine after shooting

Support from the community will go towards medical expenses and overhead costs for the restaurant.

Erica Shameka Roberts

Police: Minnesota murder suspect arrested in Texas

Erica Roberts has been on the run since March.

JackknifedSemisI35

Jackknifed semis close I-35 northbound near Faribault

There are icy conditions across Minnesota

Related

Why hasn't Minnesota approved election security funding yet?

Minnesota is the only state not to be making use of federal election security funding.

Study finds broadband access gap closing between rural areas, Twin Cities

A new study finds that the gap is narrowing between the amount of households in rural Minnesota and Twin Cities-area that have some form of Internet access. A new study released by the Center for Rural Policy and Development said 70.6 percent of households have some form of broadband Internet access, as opposed to with the 79.2 percent of households in the seven-county Twin Cities metro area.