Many take high-speed Internet (which allows such luxuries as streaming "The Walking Dead" on Netflix or watching YouTube cat videos with little to no lag) for granted, but for a great deal of Greater Minnesota, access to broadband is still a struggle.
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is hoping $19.4 million in grants will help communities across the state speed up their Internet. The department announced Monday that 17 entities working on infrastructure upgrades will receive the grants.
The money will provide up to half the cost of the projects, with the rest being matched by local governments and private businesses, the Star Tribune reports. Most of the "entities" involved are telecommunications companies.
DEED says the awards will help bring improved internet to 6,095 homes and 150 businesses in "unserved or underserved regions in the state."
Curious if your community is included in the grant? This map (seen below) breaks down who received the awards, and how much they're getting.
It should be noted, however, that the purpose of the grant goes far beyond making sure rural Minnesotans can get onto Facebook more quickly – DEED officials describe it instead as an economic investment.
“Ensuring that all Minnesotans have access to high-speed broadband Internet is critical to unleashing the next generation of dreamers and innovators," Lt. Gov. Tina Smith said in the release. "These new infrastructure investments will help Greater Minnesota communities compete in the global economy.”