WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) announced that the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded $3.4 million to support broadband expansion in Northeast Minnesota.

“In 2021, we should be able to bring high-speed internet to every community – but today, tens of millions of Americans do not have access to broadband, including approximately 144,000 households in rural Minnesota,” said Senator Klobuchar. “This federal funding will make a big difference by connecting people in Northeast Minnesota to work, school, health care, and business opportunities. As a leader in the fight to strengthen our nation’s broadband infrastructure, I’ll keep working to ensure Minnesotans have the resources they need to thrive.”

“I’m glad to see this investment in Northeast Minnesota,” said Senator Smith. “Broadband is the infrastructure of the 21st Century and if we’re going to build an economy that works for everyone, then we need to prioritize deploying high-speed internet to all Americans – just like we did with rural electrification and the interstate highway system. The COVID 19 pandemic has highlighted how important access to high-speed, affordable, and reliable internet access, and this CARES Act grant will ensure the people of Northeastern Minnesota can get connected and stay connected.”

This grant will go towards the construction of more than 100 miles of “middle-mile” broadband fiber to expand the network to serve remote and underserved areas throughout six counties of Northeast Minnesota. “Middle-mile” is the section of a network that connects the backbone of the internet to a local connection site, which often includes anchor institutions such as schools, libraries, or government offices. The grant will be matched with $835,000 in local funds and is expected to generate $20 million in private investment.

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