$2.33M Grant Expands Broadband Internet Access on Iron Range

Part of $19.4M in Statewide Grants

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Lt. Gov. Tina Smith kicked off a state-wide tour Tuesday touting new grants that will bring broadband internet to even more Minnesota families.

Smith stopped at the Delta Airlines Iron Range Reservation Center in Chisholm which is one of three Iron Range projects getting a total of $2.33 million in grants.

“Broadband to me is like electricity or water supply to houses and businesses. It’s not something that is nice to have, it’s not a luxury, it’s really a necessity,” said Smith.

According to Smith, there is still a long way to go, but she and Gov. Mark Dayton have proposed another $30 million in the next legislative session to keep the project going.

 “We hear a lot about how this is going to make a big difference in terms of businesses being able to recruit employees and places like the call centers to be able to let their employees work from home,” said Smith.

Minnesota lawmakers hope to have fast affordable boarder to boarder broadband within the next 10 years.

Hibbing – DEED is providing Mediacom $137,848 to extend broadband services to 122 unserved homes and businesses on the southwest edge of the city limits of Hibbing. The full cost of this project is $275,697; the remaining $137,849 in matching funds will be provided by a private investment made by Mediacom.
Thanks to the new investment, residents will be able to access the latest telemedicine innovations and will be able to telecommute. The project also will lower costs business that need advanced services. Additionally, it will provide for future public-private partnerships with St. Louis County by leveraging the expanded fiber optic network.

St. Louis County – DEED award $1.96 million to the Northeast Service Cooperative to extend broadband access to 877 businesses, nonprofits, and residences around Crane Lake, Alborn, Meadowlands, Brookston, Forbes, Kelsey, Soudan, Kabetogama, Ely and Tower. The total project costs are $4.35 million; the remaining $2.39 million will be provided by the IRRRB ($1.5 million), Frontier ($750,000), and NESC ($135,000).
 

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