Rural Goodhue County residents can expect better high-speed internet access in the near future thanks to Rep. Angie Craig securing $3.21 million in broadband funding earlier this month as part of a federal funding bill.
“I’m proud to have worked closely with local leaders to secure this critical funding for Goodhue County to invest in this important project,” Craig said in a news release. “Expanding broadband access in greater Minnesota is one of my top priorities as a member of Congress, and I look forward to the possibility of connecting folks in unserved and underserved parts of our community . . .”
County leaders have been working for months, if not years, to secure substantial broadband funding, making this capital through Community Project Funding that more crucial.
“I am convinced that broadband will make a huge difference in our county,” commissioner Linda Flanders said.
The project is in its initial stages – according to county IT director John Smith – and will target rural areas, where due to location, geography, low population density or other factors receive little to no internet access.
Smith shared the following budgetary scope, showing which county areas will receive upgrades.
Mazeppa west: $1,020,417
Goodhue east: $1,431,636
Goodhue north: $1,135,321
Hay Creek: $462,054
Welch Village: $80,000
Fixed wireless project utilizing licensed 5-G spectrum: $150,000
After fiber-based completion, Craig’s team expects that high-speeds will be provided to more than 500 homes and 1,100 individuals who experience low connectivity. The fixed wireless portion could “potentially provide increased bandwidth to nearly 800 homes, 1,800 individuals, more than 1,300 farms and agricultural parcels, and as many as 60 schools, churches, public safety and other municipal and public service locations,” according to a news release.
Commissioner Brad Anderson expressed his gratitude toward Craig and said this project is addressing local needs.