Sen. Jeremy Miller (R-Winona) expressed approval Thursday of Winona and Fillmore counties being selected for the Border to Border Broadband Development Grant Program.
The purpose of the grant is to provide state resources to help make a financial case for new and existing providers to invest in building broadband infrastructure into unserved and underserved areas of the state.
Grants through the program can provide up to 50% of a project’s infrastructure costs, which include project planning, permits, construction plant and labor, installation and testing and engineering among others.
“High-speed internet should be thought of as a utility, not a luxury,” Miller said. “COVID made it clear just how important high-speed internet access is to our daily lives.
“Particularly in Greater Minnesota, there are still too many folks who don’t have access to high-speed internet at their home or business, but we continue to make progress each and every year. I am thankful that the office of Broadband Development has chosen two worthy communities in our area for this critical infrastructure.”
Winona and Fillmore counties will share $1,492,096 for AcenTrek’s Rural Peterson fiber-to-the-home project. Through the grant, AcenTrek will be able to provide service to 214 unserved households, 18 unserved businesses, 88 unserved farms, two unserved community anchor institutions, 47 underserved households and five underserved businesses throughout both counties.
Through a funding partnership with the state and Fillmore County EDA, AcenTrek will improve broadband levels up to 1 gigabit-per-second download and 100 megabit-per-second upload, exceeding the 2022 and 2026 state speed goals.
Fillmore will also receive an additional $1,173,330 for MiBroadband, LLC’s Rural Preston fiber-to-the-premises project, which will serve 231 unserved and 26 underserved locations in rural portions of southern Fillmore County.
The projects were two of 39 selected to receive state funding through the most recent round of grant funding.
A full listing of grant awards and project descriptions is available at https://mn.gov/deed/programs-services/broadband/grant-program/#2
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