|12/9/2015 2:26:00 PM|
Rural Internet, MVTV Wireless get early present
Minnesota rural Internet got an early Christmas present in late November as the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced that $11 million in grants have been awarded for projects to expand broadband access in 15 Greater Minnesota communities.
The grants are a part of the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program signed into law in May 2014.
More importantly to our area, MVTV Wireless was awarded a significant chunk of that $11 million. The company received $808,000. Total upgrade/expansion project costs are $1.85 million. MVTV will cover the remaining $1.04 million (56 percent local match).
This project will improve services to 6,000 households and businesses that are MVTV customers in 20 southwestern Minnesota counties, with leverage possibilities for another 29,000 customers. The counties are Blue Earth, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac Qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, Meeker, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Pipestone, Rock, Redwood, Renville, Sibley Swift, Watonwan and Yellow Medicine.
Hopefully, MVTV will include upgrades that will help to eliminate dead spots in the immediate area such as the one at String Lake.
I've always said that broadband service is critical to rural Minnesota's economy. I compare it to when REA brought rural electric service to the area almost a century ago. If rural areas are to compete economically with urban areas, broadband is a must.
It is also critical to many other services, such as education, health care and emergency services.