ST. PAUL (AP) - The first state grants in a new broadband Internet expansion program will bolster 17 projects in Minnesota. The Department of Employment and Economic Development announced the recipients today (Monday), choosing from among 40 applicants.

Here in Central Minnesota the winning applicants include:

  • Arvig in the Sauk Lake area, which is primarily in Todd County with some of the project area in Stearns County near Sauk Centre. They've been awarded over $536,000 to build infrastructure to serve 217 properties.
  • CenturyLink in Foley: They've been awarded nearly $383,000 to build infrastructure to serve 162 homes in Foley.
  • Consolidated Telephone Cooperative in Morrison County: They've been awarded $2 million to bring high-speed internet to 247 unserved and 90 underserved properties.
  • Palmer Wireless for the Becker Industrial Park: They've been awarded nearly $152,000 to deploy 3.4 miles of fiber passing 21 underserved businesses in the Becker Industrial Park.


Agency officials say the $19.4 million in grants will help connect 6,100 households, 83 community institutions and 150 businesses with faster Internet. The goal is to foster the build-out of higher-speed service to places that now lack it.

Winning applicants will reap awards as small as $105,000 and as big as $5 million. They require some local matching money either through local governments, private businesses or a combination.

Lawmakers will decide this year whether to allocate more money for broadband development. The Legislature set aside $20 million last year.