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RELEASE: Rep. Grossell congratulates Hubbard and Lake of the Woods County on securing broadband grant

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

SAINT PAUL, MN—Representative Matt Grossell, R-Clearbrook, issued the following statement regarding today's announcement from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) that Hubbard and Lake of the Woods County are two of 71 Greater Minnesota communities to receive a state grant to expand broadband access.

According to a press release from DEED, Hubbard and surrounding counties will benefit from a $1.74 million grant to expand broadband infrastructure, bringing broadband access to 785 households and 26 unserved businesses. Lake of the Woods County will benefit from two separate projects with grants totaling $1.3 million, bringing broadband access to 362 households, 56 unserved businesses, as well as improving business development, health care and educational opportunities in the community.

“Bringing broadband to unserved rural areas is a huge economic development tool for Greater Minnesota,” Grossell said. “More resources than ever are coming to Greater Minnesota to connect rural areas with access to high-speed internet. I am glad to see Lake of the Woods and Hubbard counties utilize this program.”

Thanks to GOP-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.