The Office of Broadband Development (OBD) at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) recently released a call for Border to Border Broadband grant applications. The deadline to submit your application is September 13, 2019.
This year, the State Legislature has appropriated $20 million in funding for projects located in unserved or underserved communities. As a reminder, Minnesota has established the thresholds as:
Unserved area: households or businesses lack access to wire-line broadband service at speeds of 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) download and 3 Mbps upload.
Underserved area: households or businesses do receive service at or above 25 Mbps / 3 Mbps, but lack access to wire-line broadband service at speeds of 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload.
The OBD has posted a map of the state which allows users to to input addresses and quickly determine if their location qualifies for grant funding. Check it out here.
Who Can Apply?
As other states have shaped their broadband grant programs, they’ve looked to Minnesota for guidance. One of the shining characteristics of the Border to Border Broadband Broadband Development program has been the diverse field of eligible applicants. In some states, grants can only go to private sector companies, but Minnesota takes an “all hands on deck” approach. Eligible applicants include:
- Incorporated businesses or partnerships
- Political subdivisions
- Indian tribes
- Minnesota nonprofit organizations organized under chapter 317A
- Minnesota cooperative associations organized under chapter 308A or 308B
- Minnesota limited liability corporations organized under chapter 322B for the purpose of expanding broadband access
Eligible Program Costs and Matching Funds
Applicants can only receive grant funding if they provide matching funds, which can come from any public or private source. The project infrastructure must be able to support minimum symmetrical speeds of 100 Mbps.
Costs associated with a project that will be eligible for consideration include those associated with acquisition and installation of middle mile or last mile infrastructure. In addition to project planning, awardees may also apply for grant funding to pay...Read more