Connect MN Gets $2.7M for Broadband Initiatives

The funding was awarded under the State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program and will allow for an additional three years of broadband mapping.

The Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced Tuesday that it has awarded Connect Minnesota about $2.7 million to further implement broadband initiatives.

The funding was awarded under the State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program (SBDD) and will allow mapping efforts under the SBDD program to continue for three additional years beyond an original five-year program.

“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.

Under the SBDD program, the Connect Minnesota initiative released its first iteration of the broadband map in May 2010.

The organization said that the new 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.

Connect Minnesota is a St. Paul-based public-private partnership working to unite local governments, businesses, and citizens in the goal of increasing broadband service in the state's underserved areas.

-Melissa Loth