The Kanabec County Board heard the results of their final broadband feasibility during their meeting this week. Besides city areas, nearly all of Kanabec County is currently under or unserved in terms of internet speeds.
Back in February, The county approved reserving APRA funds for potential grant matching with ECE for broadband expansion projects. The County’s EDA is now recommending the county pledge money towards ECE’s application for the Spring 2022 Border to Border Broadband Grant.
The grant program is designed to provide financial resources that help make the business case for new and existing providers to invest in building broadband infrastructure into unserved and underserved areas of the state.
Four different service providers expressed interest in broadband expansion in the county and would be applying for the grant. County EDA Director Heidi Steinmetz explained why the best option moving forward was to support one provider.
"Each provider who submit a grant application will be competing for community support points as part of the application. Choosing one provider to partner with would give that provider the best chance of getting the most points in that portion of the grant application."
The EDA proposed a percentage based match in regards to the grant opportunity. If awarded, Kanabec County would pledge around $23,000 for the around 23% coverage expansion it can have on the county.
The county approved of backing ECE for the grant, a build out plan for the entire county estimated costs could reach as high as 124 million dollars with a 40% consumer take rate.