Ely Area Broadband Coalition (Ely ABC) and the Ely Economic Development Authority (EEDA) are set to complete a broadband feasibility study and release report results by late-November.
The ABCs Of The Ely Feasibility Study
The Ely Area Broadband Coalition (Ely ABC) is a collection of city, township, school district officials, and private citizens working in partnership with the EEDA to improve broadband in Ely and the surrounding area. In mid-2017, Ely ABC and EEDA submitted the Request for Proposals (RFP) to conduct a broadband feasibility study.
The group is keeping an open mind and will consider a variety of models. In addition to publicly owned infrastructure, they're hoping to hear ideas that will include partnership possibilities or recommendations on encouraging the private sector to improve local services.
The City of Ely is in St. Louis County and located in the northeastern corner of Minnesota. The rural community has a population of approximately 3,500 year-round residents and covers 2.74 square miles. The community, known on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, is known as the location of the North American Bear Center and the International Wolf Center.
In November 2016, Ely was one of six communities to receive a $25,000 Blandin Broadband Communities (BBC) program grant from the Blandin Foundation in partnership with Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) and Saint Louis County. Ely ABC and EEDA utilized the BBC grant to fund the broadband feasibility study.
Through the BBC program, the six communities will receive broadband planning, along with technical support and assistance to advance local technology initiatives over the next two years. The BBC program has assisted 18 other rural communities across Minnesota with broadband planning.
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