WILLMAR—While the COVID-19 pandemic caused a lot of challenges, it has also made a few opportunities. One of those is the sudden rise in funding available for broadband projects, thanks to the American Rescue Plan.
The Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners has already decided to focus most of the county’s share of the federal funding to broadband, bringing a big lift to the work being done by the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission broadband committee.
“They are giving us the opportunities to get the funds we need to make these projects possible,” said Connie Schmoll, broadband planner, at Thursday’s meeting of the EDC Joint Powers Board.
Large swaths of Kandiyohi County, and the state as a whole, are considered underserved or unserved, meaning properties don’t have access to 100 megabits per second download and 20 mbps upload internet speeds. During the pandemic, it became obvious for many that working and learning from home just wasn’t possible without high-speed, reliable internet.
Schmoll said she heard stories of parents going into the office, when they should not have done so, because they needed to save whatever internet speed they had at home for the children’s distance learning.
Read the full article by the West Central Tribune.