Broadband and Advanced Technology Committee
The Broadband and Advanced Technology Committee meets at 10:00 a.m. on the first Monday of each month at the Kandiyohi County Health & Human Services Building.
Educate, lobby and collaborate to secure future-proof broadband services throughout Kandiyohi County.
2023-2026 Strategic Objectives
- Collaborate: Continue to build and support coalitions of Kandiyohi County communities and townships seeking to facilitate the investment in broadband for the benefit of their residents
- Lobby: Strive to secure broadband resources by working with local townships, cities, county and state representatives. Support statewide lobbying efforts that enhance policies for broadband expansion.
- Educate: Support education and awareness efforts to build a “digitally equitable” Kandiyohi County in which “all individuals and communities have the information technology capacity needed for full participation in our society, democracy and economy” (National Digital Inclusion Alliance).
VISION OF IMPACT: Kandiyohi County creates equal opportunities for businesses and individuals to participate in the modern, global economy and have equal access to educational, healthcare, and socio-spiritual opportunities.
- Facilitate collaborative efforts related to recent grant funding for broadband efforts in the county (i.e., Border-to-Border Grant projects, Line Extension Grant, etc.).
- Provide information and awareness to communities, townships, and residents on how these efforts apply to them and determine potential needs for education/training.
- Continue to support the execution of broadband initiatives occurring in Kandiyohi County.
2023-2024 Projected Outcomes
- Support of broadband projects currently in process/funded and/or awaiting funding notifications and development (serving a total of nearly 4,500 locations).
- Speed maps reflect 50% of Kandiyohi County at 100 Mbps down/20 Mbps up.
- Communities have begun to identify educational/training needs to advance broadband use.
- Equal access to education, healthcare, business, and spiritual opportunities is advanced.
The following projects are complete or in the process throughout Kandiyohi County, including a couple through the state Border-to-Border Development Grants.
- City of Prinsburg—Project completed in 2022 by Arvig to serve 207 locations.
- City of Willmar—The first open-access project in the state. The fiber network will be provided by Hometown Fiber.
- 30th Avenue NW—Charter project completed in 2022 to serve 23 locations.
- 141st Avenue NE—Charter project completed in 2022 to serve 37 locations.
- 199th Avenue NE—Charter project completed in 2022 to serve 32 locations.
- East Lake Lillian and Elizabeth Townships—Vibrant Broadband submitted a state Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant application.
- Harrison Township—Vibrant Broadband applied for a state Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant to serve 222 locations.
- Hawick—Vibrant Broadband project completed in 2022 to serve 60 locations.
- Lake Andrew and Colfax Townships—Federated Telephone Cooperative to serve
- Long Lake—Vibrant Broadband project completed in 2022 to serve 229 locations.
- New London Township—Charter to serve 347 locations.
- Riverwood Circle—Charter project completed in 2022 to serve 84 locations.
- Southeast—Frontier to serve 450 locations.
- West Project—Federated Telephone Cooperative, a joint venture with the EDC to serve 645 locations in the townships of Arctander, Dovre, Mamre and St. Johns. A $4.9 million state Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant was awarded for the project. The project is under construction; it is anticipated it will be complete by the end of 2023.
- USDA ReConnect Grant—Vibrant Broadband was awarded $19 million to serve 2,084 locations in portions of Burbank, Roseville and Irving Townships.
Past State Grant Applications:
- Consolidated Telecommunications Co. (CTC) received the highest award ever given by the state of Minnesota—a $4.94 million grant, to improve high-speed broadband to north central and northwestern Kandiyohi County. The grant was subsequently declined by CTC and the project was not done.
- Frontier Communications was awarded $1.02 million to expand broadband access in rural southeastern Kandiyohi County.
The EDC has received several grants from the Blandin Foundation to further broadband initiatives in Kandiyohi County:
- In 2016, the EDC was awarded a grant for a robust network feasibility study of Kandiyohi County.
- In 2015, the EDC received a grant to install WiFi hotspots for its grant partners Central Community Transit, New London-Spicer Schools, United Way of West Central Minnesota and the city of Willmar. All grant partners purchased portable WiFi routers that can be used on their buses, except for the city of Willmar, which used the grant funds to expand WiFi at the Willmar Civic Center.
- In 2014, the EDC received a grant to host the county’s first-ever hackathon. Hack20 was held September 18-20, 2015 and resulted in four potential apps for the community.
- In 2010, the EDC was 1 of 11 demonstration communities to receive funding through the Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities (MIRC) Initiative.