Rural broadband becoming reality for central Minnesota residents thanks to nearly $10M in public and private investments
17 Nov 2017
A multi-year, multi-million dollar project aimed at bringing high-speed internet access to all residents in Region 5 continues this year with broadband expansion and exploration into the rural areas of Todd and Wadena counties.
According to the North Central Economic Development Authority, the project is a cooperative effort involving regional telecommunications companies Consolidated Telephone Company (CTC) and West Central Telephone Association (WCTA), with assistance from the Region Five Development Commission (R5DC) and National Joint Powers Alliance (NJPA).
Cheryal Lee Hills, Executive Director for R5DC states, "Since 2015, NJPA has made a combined total of $400,000 worth of investments to CTC, WCTA and others in the region for feasibility and engineering research. This generous investment helped us provide the data needed to secure and leverage $9.8 million through the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Office of Broadband and CTC/WCTA match infusion."
WCTA's project build-out areas for 2017-18 include approximately 200 residents and 68 miles of fiber in the rural Wadena County area, and approximately 145 residents and 63 miles of fiber in the northern Todd County area. Through funding, grant money, and company match 852 rural Region 5 residents have gained access to broadband. CTC and WCTA plan to work with R5DC to secure additional funding for future expansion into rural Todd County.