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USDA Announces $22 Million for High-Speed Internet in Rural Minnesota Communities

Kathy Hegstad
St. Paul
Release Date

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director for Minnesota Colleen Landkamer today announced that the Department is awarding $22 million in loans and grants to provide high-speed internet access for rural residents and businesses in Minnesota.

"Access to reliable high-speed internet is vital for the continued growth of rural Minnesota." Landkamer said. "It acts as a catalyst for rural prosperity by opening opportunities that allow businesses to expand employment in their communities, schools to expand learning resources, healthcare facilities to expand care services and the list goes on. All of these opportunities strengthen a community's ability to compete in a global economy.

Funding or todays investment was provided through the ReConnect and is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s $64 Billion commitment to investing in rural infrastructure and providing reliable, affordable, high-speed internet for all across the U.S. The Department will make additional investments for rural high-speed internet in the coming months.

As part of today’s announcement:

  • Spring Grove Communications will use an $11.4 million loan/grant combo to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network that will connect 983 people, 42 businesses, and 122 farms to high-speed internet in Houston County, Minnesota and Allamakee and Winneshiek counties in Iowa.  
  • Winnebago Cooperative Telephone Association will use a $25.1 million loan/grant combo to deploy a fiber-to-the home network that will connect 3,597 people, 80 businesses and 458 farms to high-speed internet in Freeborn County.
  • Upsala Cooperative Telephone Association will use a $6.6 million loan/grant combo to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network that will connect 1,595 people, 32 businesses, 101 farms, and one educational facility to high-speed internet in Morrison, Stearns, and Todd counties.

All of today's funding recipients will help to make high-speed internet even more affordable by also participating in the Affordable Connectivity and Lifeline programs administered through the Federal Communications Commission.

Background: ReConnect Program

To be eligible for ReConnect Program funding, an applicant must serve an area where high-speed internet service speeds are lower than 100 megabits per second (Mbps) (download) and 20 Mbps (upload). The applicant must also commit to building facilities capable of providing high-speed internet service at speeds of 100 Mbps (download and upload) to every location in its proposed service area.

Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, Tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/mn.

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