Rural Mower homes could get access to high-speed internet
Published 8:11 am Thursday, February 22, 2018
Nearly 17,500 rural homes and businesses in Minnesota, including over 500 in Mower County, that are currently unserved by high-speed Internet service could get connectivity in the near future.
These homes and businesses are in unserved areas of Minnesota and are eligible for financial support from the next phase of FCC’s Connect America Fund (CAF), which helps offset the high cost of extending broadband service into rural areas. The FCC will be distributing these funds through an innovative “reverse auction,” which is scheduled to launch on July 24.
That includes 527 eligible sites in Mower County, 96 in Dodge and 143 in Steele County.
“Connecting the unconnected in rural America is my top priority,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in a press release. “I’m excited that our CAF auction will provide opportunities for innovative companies and cooperatives to bridge the digital divide for the Minnesota consumers and small businesses that lack highspeed access today.”
Nationwide, providers will compete for up to $2 billion in support to expand access to broadband to nearly 1 million homes and locations in unserved rural areas over the next decade. The auction will provide opportunities for new entrants to the marketplace, regardless of technology, including phone companies, fixed wireless service providers, satellite providers, cable companies and electric utility broadband providers.
By harnessing market forces, the auction is designed to provide consumers with high-quality, broadband service in an efficient, cost-effective way. The application period for providers seeking to participate in the auction runs from March 19-30.
Since 2011, the FCC has targeted more than $9 billion in support for rural broadband expansion to over 4 million homes and small businesses through its Connect America Fund.
For more information on the Connect America Fund Phase II auction visit www.fcc.gov/connect-america-fund-phase-ii-auction.