ST. PAUL – State Rep. Jeff Dotseth, R-Silver Township, announces the state has awarded a $1.3 million grant to expand broadband internet service in currently unserved or underserved portions of Carlton County.
The grant has been issued by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s Office of Broadband Development. Officials indicate this last-mile project will serve 503 households and businesses in the townships of Barnum, Eagle Lake, Lakeview and Moose Lake with fiber-to-the-home service.
In a funding partnership with the state and Carlton County ($50,000), DEED reports Savage Communications, Inc will offer broadband service speeds to 1 Gbps download and 1 Gbps upload. This new network will improve access to critical school e-learning applications, improve access to health care resources and stimulate a more robust local economy, DEED said. In total, a $1.3 million local match is included to meet the total eligible project cost of more than $2.5 million.
“While most people have come to expect reliable and affordable internet connections to be readily available, parts of our state remain at a disadvantage in that regard, including right here in Carlton County,” Dotseth said. “There are still gaps in coverage in our area that need to be addressed and this grant will put many residents and businesses in the county on equal footing with other parts of the state and the world. Congratulations to everyone involved in helping earn these grant dollars to aid people in Carlton County.”
In all, 30 broadband expansion projects around Minnesota will receive grants from two of DEED’s broadband programs in this round of funding. Providers estimate the funding will extend new high-speed broadband access to more than 13,100 Minnesota homes and business in 26 counties.
Federal funds account for a significant portion of the $66.9 million in DEED's broadband grants issued for 2023, including nearly $30 million for the Low-Density Pilot program. In 2022, the Legislature directed an additional $60.7 million of federal ARPA funds to be used for broadband programs. Additionally, in 2022 the Legislature allocated $25 million in State General Revenue Funds to the Border-to-Border grant program for 2024.
Also, the Legislature last May approved $100 million to the program for the new biennium. DEED indicates it will open its next Border-to-Border grant round this fall.
A complete list of the recent grant awards by project can be found on DEED's website.