Carlton County is getting a huge boost in its efforts to expand broadband access to the western third of Carlton County.
Lt. Governor Tina Smith announced Tuesday that the county received Border to Border broadband infrastructure grant funds in the amount of $569,058 for phase I of a three-phase project in partnership with Frontier Communications. The grant money supports the expansion of affordable, reliable, high-speed internet to areas of Minnesota that are currently unserved or underserved.
In Carlton County, the grant focuses on the Cromwell and Kettle River communities. Plans include areas along Minnesota Highway 73 north and south of Cromwell, and west of Cromwell along Highway 210 and Rosicky Road. Areas northeast of Cromwell, at the junction of Krogh Road and Dahlman Road will be covered, and the Eagle Lake area southwest of Cromwell is also included.
Areas along Highway 73 north of Kettle River, west of Kettle River at the intersection of County Road 22 and Automba Road will be addressed, as well as the area at the intersection of County Road 6 and Metso Road.
Carlton County Economic Development Director Connie Christenson, who wrote the grant application and who will manage the grant, was ecstatic to hear the news, and quickly credited the county board members for their vision and support of their communities.
According to a 2016 Carlton County broadband feasibility study completed by Cooperative Network Services (CNS) and funded by the Blandin Foundation, Carlton County ranked 66th out of 87 counties in Minnesota whose residents have access to the state's recommended 25 Megabit (Mb) download/3 Mb upload speeds.
There were a total of 70 applications for this year’s grant cycle.
Editor’s note: Look for a more detailed story in next week’s Pine Journal