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$35 Million in Broadband Funding Available

7/1/2016 9:17:38 AM

DEED will begin taking applications on July 22
ST. PAUL – The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) will begin taking applications on July 22 for funding to expand broadband infrastructure in Minnesota. 
The $35 million in funding, which was approved during the 2016 legislative session, goes into effect with the beginning of the 2017 fiscal year today. DEED will award grants through its Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program to pay for up to 50 percent of project development costs in unserved and underserved areas of the state. A maximum of $5 million per grant will be available. 
Officials estimate that an additional 12,000 Minnesota households will receive high-speed internet once the projects are completed. 
“Broadband isn’t nice, it’s necessary if we want Minnesota's economy to work for everyone, everywhere in the state,” said Lt. Gov. Tina Smith. “This new investment will connect small businesses to customers, students to learning opportunities, and patients to their doctors. This is an important investment, but we have a long way to go before we achieve the governor’s goal of border-to-border broadband internet access. Next legislative session we need to build on this progress so that all Minnesotans have access to the basic infrastructure of the 21st century.”
“Broadband is an important economic development tool," added DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy. “Communities that have strong broadband systems in place are more likely to attract new residents and businesses." 
The new round of funding brings the state’s total investment since the Border–to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program was created in May 2014 to $65.4 million. DEED awarded $19.4 million to 17 broadband projects in Minnesota last February and another $11 million for 15 Minnesota projects in November. Gov. Mark Dayton had requested $100 million from the Legislature in the latest funding round. 
Under the new funding, $5 million will be targeted for underserved areas of the state and $500,000 for projects that propose to expand the availability and adoption of broadband service to areas that contain a significant proportion of low-income households. 
DEED will accept applications for the new funding through Oct. 3. More details about the program and the process for applying are available here on the DEED website. 
DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. For more details about the agency and our services, visit the DEED website or follow DEED on Twitter.

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