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.
At its annual strategic planning session, the EDC boards identified broadband as one of its three priority areas for 2021.
Educate, lobby, and collaborate to secure future-proof broadband services throughout Kandiyohi County.
- Educate: Supply elected officials with talking points that reflect the needs/stories of businesses and citizens of the county (gathered through listening sessions, testimonial letters and community conversations).
- Collaborate to gain buy-in from residents, providers, and financial supporters and to take advantage of funding opportunities that are available. Use the four-township project as a springboard.
- Lobby for broadband resources working with local townships, cities, county and state representatives. Support statewide lobbying efforts that enhance policies for broadband expansion.
- Speed maps reflect 50% of Kandiyohi County at 100 mbps download and 20 mbps upload in two years/100% in five years
- Equal access to educational opportunities
- Equal access to healthcare
- Businesses expand and are able to attract the needed workforce
- The spiritual needs of the community members can be met remotely
- Increased property values due to broadband access
- Broadband is accessible to all just as is electric services
Kandiyohi County was approved for two state Border-to-Border Grants.
- 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.