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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Dean Urdahl (R)

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State grants issued for area broadband projects

Tuesday, February 2, 2021


ST. PAUL – State Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Acton Township, announced state funding has been awarded to improve broadband access for unserved or underserved areas of Hutchinson and Union Grove Township. 

The awards were issued through the state’s Border-to-Border Broadband Grant Program, administered by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. 

The Hutchinson grant is for $169,369, with a total eligible project cost of $423,423 and a $254,054 local match. The project will serve 42 unserved and five underserved locations in a funding partnership between the state of Minnesota and Nuvera Communications, Inc. This, DEED indicated, will bring broadband service levels to 1 Gbps download and 1 Gbps upload, exceeding the state’s 2022 and 2026 speed goals. DEED said this network will provide reliable, affordable, high quality broadband to rural farms, businesses, and homes in the project area. 

The Union Grove award is a $41,927 grant for serving approximately 28 unserved and seven underserved locations in Meeker County. In a funding partnership with the state and Meeker Cooperative, DEED said, internet speed levels will be brought to 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload, also meeting or exceeding Minnesota’s 2022 and 2026 state speed goals. Building a fiber-to-the-premise high-speed broadband services network will provide Union Grove households, businesses and farms in the project area with access to e-learning, telemedicine, precision agriculture tools, as well as other critical applications, DEED said. 

“While most people have come to expect reliable and affordable internet connections, many places in our state remain at a disadvantage in that regard,” Urdahl said. “The increased reliance upon internet services during the COVID-19 pandemic only underscores the need to smooth out rough patches and complete last-mile projects in our state. The Legislature has done well to fund the Border-to-Border program and it is good to see local awards have been earned.” 

The awards are among 39 grants – totaling $20,645,425 and matched by $33,695,279 in local funds – recently issued statewide by DEED. This marks the sixth year Border-to-Border grants have been issued.