MINNEAPOLIS - Affluent communities on the fringes of the Twin Cities metro area have lost out to Greater Minnesota in this year's competition for grants to subsidize broadband communications in poorly served remote locations.

The state of Minnesota awarded $10 million in broadband grants this month. Communities such as Afton and Scandia came up empty.

Fifteen winners across the state were selected from dozens of applicants that collectively sought close to $30 million. They ranged from International Falls to Winona County, with another applicant covering 30,000 square miles across 20 southwest counties to help more than 3,000 farm-based businesses.

The Department of Employment and Economic Development, which awarded the grants, says it's an era when "agricultural data usage is exploding nationally."