Minnesota Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith announced over $5 million in funding for rural broadband deployment in the Brainerd area.

According to a news release Monday, Jan. 27, the funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ReConnect program is intended support high-speed broadband infrastructure projects that will improve connectivity for rural Minnesota households.

“Our 21st century economy demands 21st century infrastructure, and that will require investments in rural broadband,” Klobuchar stated in the release. “This critical funding will help connect more Minnesotans from Brainerd and the surrounding area to high-speed internet. Continued investments in broadband will transform how we do business, provide medical care, educate our children, create jobs, and deliver government services.”

“I’m glad to see this investment in the Brainerd area. Broadband is the infrastructure of the 21st Century and if we're going to build an economy that works for everyone, then we need to seriously prioritize deploying high-speed internet to all Americans—just like we did with rural electrification and the interstate highway system,” Smith stated in the release. “That’s why I fought to get my provisions to deploy broadband to unserved rural and Tribal communities included in the 2018 Farm Bill, and I’m going to keep working to help build out broadband across the state.”

This rural development investment will provide Consolidated Telephone Company in Brainerd with the opportunity to deploy a fiber-to-the-premise network in rural areas.

Consolidated Telephone Company received a grant of $5,229,506 to serve an area including 667 households, two educational facilities, and two critical community facilities spread over 111 square miles in rural Minnesota.