Minnesota Awarded $2.7 Million for Additional Broadband Mapping and Planning Initiatives
Mapping and Planning Efforts Expanded for the Full Five Year Program
St. Paul, MN — The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has awarded Connect Minnesota approximately $2.7 million, under the State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program (SBDD), to further implement broadband initiatives over the original five-year award period.
The additional Recovery Act funding will allow mapping efforts under the SBDD program to continue for three additional years, while the program also focuses on projects that relate to broadband planning activities, such as the identification of barriers to the adoption of broadband service and information technology services.
“This program will meet NTIA’s intent for developing high-quality projects designed to gather granular data on broadband availability, technology, speed, and infrastructure across the state,” according to Brian Mefford, CEO of Connected Nation, Connect Minnesota’s parent organization. “Through this project Connect Minnesota will support the work of the 15 member Minnesota Broadband Advisory Task Force in carrying out its functions, including the production of its annual progress report benchmarking progress toward meeting Minnesota’s 2015 broadband goals of a minimum of 10-20 MB to all residents and businesses.”
Connect Minnesota will continue to engage in broadband data collection activities that will capture complete and up-to-date datasets from the state’s broadband providers and will result in regularly-scheduled updates and further enhancements to the state’s interactive broadband map.
Under the SBDD program, the Connect Minnesota initiative released its first iteration of the broadband map in May 2010, and this funding will allow the state to prioritize and track progress over a longer period of time. This data will populate the comprehensive, interactive, and searchable national broadband map that NTIA is required by the Recovery Act to create and make publicly available by February 17, 2011.
As the designated entity for broadband mapping in the North Star State, Connect Minnesota is a public-private partnership working to unite local governments, businesses, and citizens in the goal of increasing broadband service in the state’s underserved areas.
To access a summary of the grant project please visit http://www2.ntia.doc.gov/grantee/connected-nation-minnesota.