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Blandin Foundation awards broadband grant of $25,000 to Pope County for Feasibility Study
Thu, Mar 2, 2017

Blandin Foundation awards broadband grant to Pope County for feasibility study

Grand Rapids, Minn. (March 3, 2017) – Blandin Foundation announced today that it has awarded five grants totaling $149,000 that assist rural Minnesota communities in advancing high-speed Internet access and use in their communities. Pope County will benefit from grant funding that will map existing fiber, towers and broadband-related electronics, provide a market study, determine the best technology path for the county, and conduct a pre-engineering study to determine the cost of future build-out.

“From our experience working in over 30 rural communities across the state, we have learned that feasibility studies of this kind can help communities attract the interest and attention of possible provider partners,” said Bernadine Joselyn, Blandin Foundation’s director of public policy and engagement.

Currently, 76 percent of Pope County residents do not have access to broadband speeds that meet the state goal of 100 megabits per second download and 20 megabits per second upload by 2026. The feasibility study will help the community explore a broadband expansion that will serve all residents.

With a population around 11,000 residents, local leaders are looking to the opportunities that come with a broadband-enabled economy to boost economic and community development.

“Pope County is one of the many counties in Greater Minnesota working to improve Internet access and increased Internet speeds,” said Commissioner Larry Lindor. “At issue is future development and education access. It is difficult to attract new residents and new businesses to an area that does not have high-speed Internet. In addition, technology is becoming more prevalent for K-12 education and some students are left behind because of where they live in the county.”

“It takes planning, persistence and perseverance from local leaders to really bring the promise of broadband home to our rural communities,” said Blandin Foundation president and CEO Dr. Kathleen Annette. “We’re honored to stand with Pope County as they plan for their broadband-enabled future.”

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About Blandin Foundation: Blandin Foundation works for vibrant rural Minnesota communities by investing in community leaders and working with partners to expand opportunity for all residents. Located in Grand Rapids, Minn., it is one of only a handful of foundations in the U.S. focused exclusively on rural communities and the largest rural-based private foundation in Minnesota. Information on Blandin Foundation grant-making, leadership development programs and public policy initiatives: www.blandinfoundation.org. Information about the Blandin Broadband Communities Program: http://broadband.blandinfoundation.org/

 

Media contact:

 

Blandin Foundation

Allison Ahcan, Director of Communications

C: 218-259-2893

arahcan@blandinfoundation.org

Blog http://outposts.blandinfoundation.org and www.blandinonbroadband.org

Twitter @BlandinFound

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