What is Broadband?
Broadband is defined as a high-capacity transmission technique using a wide range of frequencies, which enables a large number of messages to be communicated simultaneously. This is how the internet is accessed.
There are several types of broadband, or ways the transmission is delivered. You have likely heard of, and used, wireless internet at your homes or while visiting businesses. Likewise, you have probably used your smartphone to help you navigate to a location using GPS, or the Global Positioning System, which uses satellites. You can also receive broadband internet through similar satellites. The internet can also be delivered over Powerlines (also called BPL), a Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), or a cable modem/Coaxial Cable. Even if you have wireless internet you have a modem like this somewhere in your house. Lastly, there is fiber. This is a permanent connection from a wire buried in the ground to your home or business. This results in the fastest and most reliable source of broadband internet. That is why grants are available to help bring broadband from ‘border-to-border’ across Minnesota and the nation.
What are the current projects? (See below for details)
There are four current areas of broadband on which the EDC is currently working in 2023/2024. These include:
- Awarded Border-to-Border Broadbrand Grant Projects
- Broadband Line Extension Connection Grant Program
- Application to DEED for future Border-to-Border Development Grant Projects (due in March 2023)—information will be updated here when notice is received if the grant is funded
- Continued support to develop broadband/fiber optic services to unserved and underserved areas throughout Kandiyohi County
How does this apply to you?
-If you live in Arctander, Dovre, Mamre, St. Johns or at four specific homes on 156th Avenue in Lake Andrew Township, your residence or business project is already funded. Please complete your Line Installation Permission Agreement you received in the mail from Federated Telephone. See below for further details.
-If you are not in the boundary of the existing project areas listed above, or other existing fiber optic lines, the Line Extension Grant could benefit you.
-If you live in Harrison, Lake Elizabeth or East Lake Lillian a second Border-to-Border Development Grant application is being submitted for your area. A letter of support explaining how the lack or reliable coverage affects you turned into the EDC would support the grant.
-If you are not in an area that has a project or is being submitted for a project you can trust that the EDC and partners continue to work to bring fiberoptic broadband to you. Talk to your township supervisors about your need and desire for broadband. You can also provide us with a letter of support for your situation regardless of where you live.
Broadband Border-to-Border (2022/currently funded), New (2023/prospective projects) Broadband Border-to-Border Grant, Line Extension Grant
What is the Awarded (2022) Border-to-Border Development Grant?
In fall of 2022 the EDC received the news that Federated Telephone Cooperative was being awarded $4,913,506 via the Border-to-Border Development Grant the EDC applied for on its behalf from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).
Read the full story from the West Central Tribune
How does the grant serve you?
This project will be serving Arctander, Dovre, Mamre, St. Johns, and a portion of Lake Andrew Townships. What we can celebrate is that 343 unserved and 302 underserved homes, businesses, farms, and community anchor institutions will now have high-speed and reliable internet service. This is not just a win for those communities, but for the economy of Kandiyohi County. Access to the internet can make a huge difference in elevating a family, business, and community.
What do you need to do?
If you live in one of these awarded townships you should have received a Line Installation Permission Agreement that needs to be signed and returned by March 15, 2023 from Federated Telephone Cooperative.
A Construction Open House was held on Thursday, February 16, 2023 at the Kandiyohi County Health and Human Services Building, 2200 23rd Street NE, Willmar. Additional Permission Agreements were available at that meeting for you to sign and turn in that night. You can review the Federated Open House Invitation.
What do you need to know?
Federated Telephone Cooperative’s current timeline is to complete the buildout of this project in 2023. Access to service will take place in 2023 and 2024. Now is the best time to sign the Line Installation Permission Agreement, as this agreement only provides Federated the permission to bring the line through your yard and to your house; it does not require you to buy its monthly internet service.
What is the Line-Extension grant?
The Line Extension Connection Program goal is to connect residents and businesses that lack access to broadband internet service to service providers and then assist in the expense of extending broadband to those locations.
This includes residences and businesses that are close to currently established providers and lines. You can review the full details of this program in the Line Extension Connection handout from DEED.
What you need to know:
You can apply if your current location lacks broadband service or has actual broadband speeds of less than 25/3Mbps.
How to apply:
You can learn more from the DEED Office of Broadband information sheet. Apply by visiting the website. You can also pick up a paper version of the application at the EDC located at 222 20th Street SE, Willmar or call the line extension phone number at 651-259-7610.
New (Spring 2023) Kandiyohi County Border-to-Border Grant Submission
What is the Border-to-Border (2023 FY 2024) Grant?
In the 2022 legislative session, the legislature directed an additional $60.7 million of federal ARPA (America Rescue Plan Act) funds to be used for broadband programs of which $42.6 million will be available for Border-to-Border Development Grants, including up to $30 million for a Low-Density Pilot Program. Additionally, in the 2022 session, the legislature allocated $25 million in State General Revenue Funds to the Border-to-Border Development Grant Program for FY24.
With $25 million in State General Revenue Funding and $42 million in Capital Projects Funds, DEED opened the application window for the 2023 grant round on December 19, 2022. A maximum of $67 million will be available for grants this round, including up to $30 million for a Low-Density Pilot Program.
Read the full article about the open grant on the DEED site.
How does the grant serve you?
This grant submittal will be focusing on providing service to Harrison, Lake Elizabeth and East Lake Lillian Townships in partnership with Vibrant (Meeker County Cooperative). The EDC needs letters of support to be turned in with the grant by February 27, 2023. See below under “What do you need to do” for examples.
What do you need to know?
The Kandiyohi County & City of Willmar EDC is currently working with Vibrant to put together these applications which are due March 2, 2023. The EDC will share the announcement if funds are awarded via a press release and on our social media.
What do you need to do?
If you live in Harrison, Lake Elizabeth or East Lake Lillian Townships, or interact with a resident or business that is lacking reliable internet service and is impacted by this, please consider writing a letter of support for this project. You can review several examples here, including an example for a resident, one for a business, and another for a business or organization.
The project will not be supported without these meaningful letters. You can include how a lack of internet impacts you, including limited or no accessibility to telehealth, e-learning, the ability to connect with friends and family, and even the ability to order living essentials like groceries or medications. Letters from businesses and farmers are also important for our application. You can review several examples here, including a resident, several for businesses, and one designed for a business or organization.
Please send letters by February 27, 2023 to the EDC to Sarah Swedburg, Business Development Manager, at [email protected] or via mail to Kandiyohi County & City of Willmar EDC, Attn. Broadband Letter of Support, P.O. Box 1783, Willmar, MN 56201.