A contract with Compass Consultants Inc. for an engineering study will determine fiber broadband feasibility in rural Kandiyohi County townships, including Dovre, Mamre and St. Johns townships. Pending the study outcomes and a positive response from the township constituents, we will submit a Border-to-Border application to the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development (OBD) by August 2020.
Border-to-border high-speed internet access is the goal throughout Minnesota. The OBD helps Minnesotans understand broadband options available and works with communities to improve the availability and use of high-speed broadband services. During the 2019 legislative session, $40 million was allocated for the 2019-2021 biennium to support the buildout of broadband infrastructure through grants for shovel-ready projects. The grants provide a maximum of $5 million per project and are extremely competitive. The application needs to show local need, excellent value for the cost, local support and matching funds provided by the local area, as well as the potential service provider. A survey of the residents and businesses in the three townships was recently completed. We are looking forward to learning the outcome of the survey and the study. This may be our next great opportunity for enhancing broadband in Kandiyohi County.
What is Broadband?
The term broadband refers to internet connections that can transfer data and information (like e-mail or web pages) at high speeds—at least 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload. Reliable and affordable high-speed internet connectivity is essential for economic activity everywhere and especially in rural areas.
- the ability for all school children to have access to educational opportunities;
- the best healthcare access at the lowest cost;
- opportunities for farmers to utilize precision agriculture equipment and planning software;
- use of new home appliances and security systems that require high-speed internet service; and
- job stimulation and innovative technologies leading to growth in the local economy.