Hello from the Twin Cities, where today I'll be presenting on a Legislative Panel at the Blandin Border to Border Broadband Conference in Minneapolis. This statewide conference brings together lawmakers, businesses, city and state officials, and other stakeholders to talk about our progress on broadband and our efforts to bring broadband to the parts of the state that need it most.
Today the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced recipients for broadband grants which were approved during the last legislative session.
Two grant recipients in our area include Consolidated Telecommunications Company near Fort Ripley, a $759,525 grant which will bring access to 272 households and is being matched by private funding.
The second is a grant for West Central Telephone Association, the Highway 71 Wadena North Expansion Project. $193,515 will help bring broadband service to 162 households, 43 businesses, and three other community institutions.
91% of the project's $2.12 million price tag will be covered by West Central Telephone Association and other local/regional organizations. I plan to work with Todd County to assist with their application process during the next round of broadband grants.
Earlier this year we learned that thanks to Connect America Funding (CAF), there will be about $500 million invested in broadband right here in Minnesota over the next six years. The legislature passed additional funding that will target unserved and underserved areas, and it's my hope these funds can be strategically used in places that can't be covered by the federal money coming into the state.
I'm continuing to talk with my colleagues over the interim about the importance of building on our broadband investments during the next legislative session. I will be sure to keep you posted on our progress once the 2016 session begins in March.
I wanted to congratulate the Pierz High School Football Team on winning the 3A High School Football Championship! Kudos to students, coaches, and parents on a great season, and for making our community proud!
Lastly, I wanted to wish everyone a safe and Happy Thanksgiving. Whether you're staying at home or traveling to be with loved ones in another state, I hope you're able to spend some quality time with your loved ones and give thanks for the freedoms and blessings we enjoy here in America.
All the best,