The $20 million Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program is open for applications. The program was first signed into law in May and seeks to expand broadband within parts of Minnesota where adequate service is unavailable. Grant awards and management will be overseen by The Office of Broadband Development within the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).
Applicants can ask for up to $5 million dollars for expansion projects, provided they have at least 50% fund matching. The program was the result of a town hall process overseen by the Office of Broadband Development which sought feedback from localities impacted by the program.
Minnesota has been working through a fairly extensive broadband expansion process in order to deal with the significant rural population in the state. They are one of a handful of states that have gone so far as to set up official departments focused solely on broadband instead of appointing task forces.
Eligible applicants for grants under the program can include incorporated businesses and partnerships, political subdivisions, Indian tribes, Minnesota nonprofits, cooperative associations and limited liability corporations.