The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development recently announced it had awarded more than $20 million through its Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant program, including to Consolidated Telecommunications Company.
CTC received $350,805 in funding. This will be combined with $350,805 in matching funds from CTC. When successfully completed, 180 unserved homes and businesses in Ross Lake Township in Crow Wing County will have access to internet with speeds of up to 1Gig.
“It’s an honor to receive this award as it helps to further our mission of connecting more communities,” Kristi Westbrock, CEO and general manager at CTC, said in a news release. “We’re confident that better internet services will enhance the lives of everyone that lives, works and vacations in this area.”
Crosslake Communications also received an award of $618,970 to upgrade the O’Brien/Goodrich Lake areas. This fiber project will serve approximately 232 unserved households.
The 39 projects that were awarded DEED funding throughout the state will be matched by nearly $34 million in local funds, for a total investment of $54.3 million.
The funding, which was approved during the 2019 legislative sessions, goes to broadband providers to build out wireline broadband infrastructure to unserved and underserved locations across the state. This round of funding will provide internet access to more than 6,900 businesses, homes and community institutions.
Once complete, the CTC project will allow rural residents to work from home, safely stay in their homes longer, and increase communication options for area businesses and residents while boosting economic development to the area. Broadband will bring enhanced employment opportunities and educational experiences to the thousands of rural residents that call this area home.
Created in 2014, the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program provides state resources that help make the financial case for new and existing providers to invest in building broadband infrastructure into unserved and underserved areas of the state. Grants were awarded through a competitive application process.
More information about the program is available at https://mn.gov/deed/programs-services/broadband/grant-program/.