Largest-Ever Investment in Broadband Access Across Minnesota

Broadband Access Minnesota

(St Paul, MN) — December, 2022 —  Governor Tim Walz announced that internet providers will receive nearly $100 million to expand broadband coverage to more Minnesotans, representing the largest single investment in broadband infrastructure in state history.

“This historic funding will dramatically improve broadband access for thousands of Minnesotans,” said Governor Walz. “Broadband connects students to new educational opportunities, provides workers with more flexibility, expands access to healthcare resources and information, and helps us stay connected to the people who matter most. This investment is essential to making Minnesota the best state to live, work, and raise a family – no matter where you live.”

In total, 61 broadband expansion projects around Minnesota will receive $99.6 million in grants from the Border-to-Border Broadband program administered by the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED)’s Office of Broadband Development. Provider grantees estimate the funding will extend new high-speed internet connections to more than 33,000 Minnesota homes and businesses in 48 counties. A list of grant awards by project can be found below, or on DEED’s website.

“Broadband is the plumbing of the twenty-first century – without it, businesses and households can’t participate in today’s economy,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “We’re proud to work with broadband providers and offer these historic grants that will empower more growth and more equity in our state.”

The new grants represent a significant acceleration of the Border-to-Border Program: Before today, DEED had provided nearly $130 million in Border-to-Border grants to connect more than 57,000 homes and businesses around Minnesota to high-speed internet since the program’s inception in 2014.

Broadband expansion is a key goal of the Walz-Flanagan Administration. Earlier this year, the Governor’s Council on Economic Expansion named universal affordable broadband access as one of its priorities for expanding the state’s economy. The council recommended that state government:

  • Ensure every child has access to the internet, appropriate hardware, training and online learning;
  • Provide affordable access to broadband internet, appropriate hardware, and training for every person in Minnesota to expand digital equity and access to government services, health care, jobs, community resources, and social connection; and
  • Drive economic competitiveness for Minnesota and enable communities throughout the State to attract and retain residents and businesses by providing affordable broadband access.

Today’s investment includes funding primarily from two sources – half of a $50 million appropriation from the state Legislature signed into law this year by Governor Walz, and $70 million in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan.

The grant maximum is $5 million per project, and grant funds may be used to reimburse up to 50 percent of a grantee’s eligible costs of deploying broadband infrastructure. Projects must meet or exceed the State’s 2026 broadband speed goal of 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload.

Next Round of Funding Opening Soon

DEED will soon launch a new Border-to-Border Request for Proposals (RFP) to award $67.6 million for broadband deployment ($25 million from the Legislature and $42.6 million in federal funding). RFP applications will be open on or around December 19, 2022.

“We’re excited to continue expanding our reach and help more Minnesotans access high-speed broadband,” said Bree Maki, Executive Director of the DEED Office of Broadband Development. “DEED, broadband providers, and Minnesota communities continue to learn how to best leverage federal, state, local, and private resources in complementary ways to expand broadband services. We encourage providers that weren’t funded today to apply for our next grant round so we can continue working together to serve Minnesotans.”

List of Border-to-Border Grantees by County

Aitkin, $1,231,818.00

  • Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative, $1,231,818.00

Aitkin, Itasca, St. Louis, $3,052,120.00

  • Paul Bunyan Communications, $3,052,120.00

Anoka, $219,727.00

  • Tekstar Communications, Inc. dba Arvig, $219,727.00

Beltrami, Kittson, Lake of the Woods, Marshall, $665,699.00

  • Wikstrom Telephone Co. Inc, $665,699.00

Benton, $1,512,951.00

  • Benton Cooperative Telephone Company, $1,512,951.00

Brown, $3,839,000.00

  • Nuvera Communications, Inc., $3,839,000.00

Carlton, $801,834.27

  • Mediacom Minnesota LLC, $801,834.27

Chippewa, $4,728,186.00

  • Farmers Mutual Telephone Company, $4,728,186.00

Chisago, $465,814.00

  • Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC, $465,814.00

Crow Wing, $343,552.00

  • Tri-Co Technologies, LLC dba Crosslake Communications, $343,552.00

Dakota, $211,826.00

  • JTN Communications, $113,076.00
  • Spectrum Mid-America, LLC managed by Charter Communications Inc., $98,750.00

Douglas, $1,212,337.50

  • Gardonville Cooperative Telephone Association, $1,212,337.50

Faribault, Martin, $1,444,030.00

  • Blue Earth Valley Telephone Co., dba Bevcomm and Cannon Valley Telecom, Inc.,dba Bevcomm, $1,444,030.00

Fillmore, $1,129,740.00

  • Harmony Telephone Company, $1,129,740.00

Grant, Stevens, Traverse, $2,493,637.00

  • Runestone Telephone Association, $2,493,637.00

Hennepin, $1,941,841.00

  • Comcast Cable Communications LLC, $1,941,841.00

Isanti, $1,647,321.00

  • Midcontinent Communications, $1,647,321.00

Kanabec, $9,403,000.00

  • East Central Energy, $9,403,000.00

Kandiyohi, $4,913,505.50

  • Federated Telephone Cooperative, $4,913,505.50

Le Sueur, $941,576.00

  • Bevcomm, Inc. dba Bevcomm, $941,576.00

Marshall, Polk, $1,462,569.00

  • Garden Valley Technologies, $1,462,569.00

McCleod, Meeker, $1,840,250.00

  • Nuvera Communications, Inc., $1,840,250.00

McLeod, $99,155.53

  • Mediacom Minnesota LLC, $99,155.53

Meeker, $327,516.00

  • Meeker Cooperative Light & Power Assoc. – DBA Vibrant Broadband, $327,516.00

Mille Lacs, $1,594,397.16

  • Benton Cooperative Telephone Company, $1,118,289.16
  • Savage Communications Inc., $476,108.00

Murray, $1,333,199.00

  • Woodstock Telephone Company, $1,333,199.00

Nicollet, $479,011.00

  • Nuvera Communications, Inc., $479,011.00

Olmsted, $1,620,007.00

  • Kasson & Mantorville Telephone Company, $1,620,007.00

Olmsted, Dodge, $1,498,115.00

  • Kasson & Mantorville Telephone Company, $1,498,115.00

Otter Tail, $4,522,365.90

  • East Otter Tail Telephone Co. dba Arvig, $1,140,704.90
  • Otter Tail Telcom, LLC, $3,381,661.00

Pine, Kanabec, $4,750,000.00

  • East Central Energy, $4,750,000.00

Pope, $4,248,796.00

  • Hanson Communications, Inc., $4,248,796.00

Redwood, $2,259,955.04

  • Hanson Communications, Inc., $923,918.00
  • Redwood County Telephone Co. dba Arvig, $1,336,037.04

Saint Louis, $7,925,722.53

  • Mediacom Minnesota LLC, $7,363,624.53
  • Savage Communications Inc., $562,098.00

Saint Louis, Cass, $4,857,030.00

  • Consolidated Telephone Company, $4,857,030.00

Scott, $2,436,427.00

  • Nuvera Communications, Inc., $2,436,427.00

Sherburne, $1,075,943.50

  • Tekstar Communications, Inc. dba Arvig, $1,075,943.50

Stearns, $5,721,534.00

  • Albany Mutual Telephone, $746,964.00
  • Melrose Telephone Co. dba Arvig, $4,974,570.00

Steele, $158,052.00

  • Spectrum Mid-America, LLC managed by Charter Communications Inc., $158,052.00

Washington, $975,131.00

  • Midcontinent Communications, $975,131.00

Wilkin, $2,157,663.00

  • Red River Rural Telephone Association, $2,157,663.00

Winona, $3,218,201.00

  • Ace Telephone Association, Inc., $3,218,201.00

Wright, $2,832,155.00

  • Spectrum Mid-America, LLC managed by Charter Communications Inc., $2,832,155.00
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