ST. PAUL – State Rep. Bud Nornes, R-Fergus Falls, announces Otter Tail Telcom and Arvig (Loretel Systems) both have been awarded broadband grants from the state to help upgrade unserved and underserved locations in the region.
The funding for the award is from the state’s Border to Border Broadband Development Program, created by the Legislature in 2014 to provide state resources that help make the capital investments necessary for private sector providers to deliver high-speed broadband infrastructure into unserved and underserved areas of the state.
Otter Tail Telcom’s grant of $156,954 will be applied to a Long and Fish lakes project, serving 70 unserved households and 18 unserved businesses, telecommuters and farms in the Elizabeth Township area north of Fergus Falls. A local match of $291,486 also is being applied to the project.
Arvig’s $430,780 grant will upgrade approximately 481 unserved locations near Pelican Lake, Lake Ida, Turtle Lake and Big Cormorant Lake in Otter Tail, Becker and Clay counties. A local match of $800,020 is scheduled.
“Congratulations to everyone involved in submitting these successful grant applications,” Nornes said. “Depending on where you live and work, sometimes it can be easy to take reliable internet service for granted. The fact is, connectivity issues remain for people in many parts of our state – including portions of our region – putting them at a significant disadvantage in today’s era of high-speed communications. These grants will help close coverage gaps in our area and get internet service for workers and residents up to speed with what others have come to expect.”
The program is administered by the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development. Border to Border awards are issued annually through a competitive process. Each award is met with local contributions either matching or exceeding the state’s contribution. In 2019, the Legislature appropriated $20 million for the program each of the next two years, $40 million for the biennium.