ST. PAUL – State Representative Greg Davids (R-Preston) said the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has awarded nearly $2 million for state grants to expand broadband access in Lanesboro.
“I’ve heard countless times about the need for broadband in Lanesboro, so I am truly pleased a sizable grant is coming the City’s way and I think everyone who worked together and made this grant happen,” Davids said.
Davids said $1.78 million will be used for a fiber build. This project will serve 431 unserved households, 42 unserved businesses and one community anchor institution in the rural Lanesboro area, including Whalan, Carrolton Township and Holt Township. The project will affect 22 business buildings and provide telecommuting opportunities for employees of Rochester-based Mayo Clinic and IBM who live in the Lanesboro area.
Davids said thanks to GOP-led efforts, $32 million of the $35 million in grants were targeted toward unserved areas of the state. Additionally, because of policy reforms to the program, the Minnesota State Broadband fund leveraged Connect America Fund Phase II (CAF II) federal broadband funding to amplify connectivity into rural areas of the state. In total, Minnesota is expected to see half a billion dollars in combined state and federal broadband funding between 2015 and 2021.
The legislature approved a total of $45 million in broadband grants during the 2015 and 2016 legislative session. When combined with federal CAF II funds, Minnesota will see more than $100 million in broadband expansion this year alone.
In all, 71 Greater Minnesota communities receive a state grant to expand broadband access.