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  • Writer's pictureWCMP

Pine County Approves Broadband Grants

The Pine County Board approved $600,000 in broadband grants for area broadband providers during a board meeting on July 19.

The county set aside $750,000 of its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to assist in the development of broadband in Pine County. The grant period opened in May and ran until mid-June.

According to county documents, eleven grant requests were submitted by five providers totaling $2,724,000 in requests and representing a total project cost of $90,434,616.

The broadband committee then selected four projects to fund:

1. $300,000 to East Central Energy (East Central Energy Regional Broadband Project - total project cost $67M)

2. $200,000 to Starwire Technologies (City of Rock Creek - total project cost $4.3M)

3. $75,000 to Savage Communications (Partridge Township Broadband Expansion - total project cost $1.5M)

4. $25,000 to Midcontinent Communications (Midco Cross Lake Trail - total project cost $67k)

The county did consider holding multiple rounds of grants; however, they choose to use a bulk of the funds in one shot because they determined the projects presented as the most needed and viable, seeing no advantage in delaying funds for future grant rounds.

The remaining $150,000 allocated by the county will be used for future unforeseen county costs when implementing broadband projects.

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