The Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced recipients of 2017 Border-to-Border Broadband grant program recently. The announcement includes two projects for providers serving Kittson, Pennington, and Roseau counties.
The projects will help serve residents, businesses, and community institutions across northwestern Minnesota, by providing critical access to high speed internet connectivity. Funding for the projects was secured in this year’s Jobs and Economic Development Bill, which Senator Mark Johnson (R-East Grand Forks) supported during the 2017 legislative session.
Sjober’s Inc and Wiktel NW MN Broadband will receive a total of $1,514,873 for their broadband expansion projects in Senate District 1, allowing their combined efforts to serve 400 unserved households, 34 unserved businesses, and 3 community anchor institutions.
“Although the standard for internet is high speed, many folks in northwestern Minnesota lack all but the most rudimentary connection,” said Senator Johnson. “With the 2017 Border-to-Boarder Broadband grant program, families and individuals will have increased access to educational, health, and economic opportunities.”
Full project details can be viewed below:
Sjoberg’s Inc will receive $307,088 for their last mile project which will serve 98 unserved households, 10 unserved businesses, and 3 community anchor institutions in a large area west of Thief River Falls. It will also support plans by DigiKey in Thief River Falls to add 1000 new employees. These employees are going to be knowledge workers, who will need access to advanced in-home broadband services for their jobs and general quality of life in remote NW Minnesota. The total eligible cost is $614,176, with a $307,088 local match.
Wiktel NW MN Broadband will receive $1,307,785 to serve areas in Kittson, Marshall, and Roseau counties helping 300 unserved homes and 31 unserved business locations. The broadband improvements will foster opportunities in economic development, successful education services for children and adults alike, and allow for critical home health care monitoring. The total eligible cost is $2,906,189, with a $1,598,404 local match.