Broadband requests outpace funding

Published 9:34 am Thursday, September 24, 2015

ST. PAUL — Almost three times as much money as state grant funding available is being sought by Minnesota communities seeking to expand broadband Internet infrastructure.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development said Wednesday it had received more than $29 million in applications for grants, which will total roughly $10.6 million when awarded. Forty-four entities have applied for money.

Awards are expected to be announced in November. Successful communities must match their state allocation, which is capped at $5 million. Seventeen entities won grants in last year’s round when there was almost twice as much money to hand out.

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The grants are intended to help build out broadband to areas without high-speed Internet or without wide access to it.

Gig Austin one of many seeking broadband funds

Austin is one of the communities seeking aid for broadband upgrades through Vision 2020’s Gig Austin initiative.

Gig Austin leaders went to the Austin City Council on Monday to discuss as $32.9 million project to bring a data fiber network throughout the city of Austin and some surrounding rural areas.

Read more about the plan in Tuesday’s Herald or at