ST. PAUL, MN -- Representative Steve Green (R-Fosston) issued the following statement regarding today's announcement from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) that Hubbard and Becker county are 2 of the counties in greater Minnesota to receive a state grant to expand broadband access.
According to a press release from DEED, the $1.74 million grant will expand broadband infrastructure in Hubbard and Becker county providing access to 785 unserved households, 26 unserved businesses, 2 unserved community anchor institutions, 143 underserved households, and 2 underserved businesses. The total eligible project cost is $3.48 million with a $1.74 million local match.
“This is excellent news for those living in Hubbard and Becker County,” said Green. “Greater access to broadband not only benefits those wanting better access to the internet, but it also improves the commerce and education sectors of our area.”
Thanks to Republican-led efforts, $32 million of the $35 million in grants were targeted toward unserved areas of the state—ensuring that broadband grants are going to the communities that need it most. 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.