DEED announces broadband infrastructure grant recipients

On Monday, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced the recipients of the Border-to-Border Broadband Development grants. The GMNP was instrumental in advocating for the creation of the grant program, which aims to help bring high-quality Internet service to underserved and unserved parts of the state.

A total of $19.4 million in grants were awarded to 17 entities across Greater Minnesota. According to a DEED press release (which also describes each of the award recipients), the awards will help serve 6,095 households, 83 community institutions and 150 businesses. This map shows where the recipients are located.

Despite a compressed time frame in which to submit a proposal, the need and interest in the grant program are clearly demonstrated by the fact that 40 projects totaling $44.2 million were competing for the grants available this year.

The awarding of these initial grants is an important first step in addressing what the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband has found up to a $3 billion need throughout the state. Nearly 38 percent of Greater Minnesota still lacks access wireline speeds at the low-end of state broadband speed goals.

The GMNP is seeking at least $100 million for the broadband grant program this legislative session to capitalize on this growing momentum. In the coming weeks, we will also be analyzing the grants more closely and may suggest changes to the program and scoring process.