In an effort to bring reliable Internet services to underserved Minnesota communities, $23 million dollars in aid have been granted to 30 projects with Scandia being a recipient of $510,358 to extend their current services. In a show of appreciation, Scandia Mayor Christine Maefsky awarded the Scandia Internet Focus Group the Good Neighbor Award for their help in researching the lack of reliable Internet service in the community that helped in receiving this chance for network extension.
The $510,358 grant was awarded to Internet service provider, Midco, through the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program which will use that to extend their services to 219 households in five different areas of the Scandia community. The need for this expansion reflects the concerns of the Scandia Internet Focus Group in the fall of 2017 when they first assessed the lack of reliable coverage.
“Reliable access to broadband is essential and some underserved people in Scandia have been clamoring for it. This grant moves us closer to closing the digital divide in this community,” said Midco Sr. Director of Government Relations Justin Forde. “It was a highly competitive process, and we’re grateful to the state of Minnesota for supporting our vision of providing excellent services to underserved areas of the state.”
The City of Scandia also supplemented the grant with $160,085 and is planning to work with Midco on the expansion in the summer of 2020. With this expansion, residents will have faster, reliable Internet connection that will improve access to necessary health care resources, learning applications, and more. Midco is confident that the network extension will, “enable telecommuting options for residents and make businesses and city institutions more efficient.”
Recognition was well deserved for Scandia Internet Focus Group that spearheaded the necessary study that contributed to receiving this grant. Members of the group included Steve Kronmiller, Patti Ray, Beth Mohr, Eric Mohr, Aron Larson, Christopher Johnson, Chris Frymire, Jesse Pereboom, Travis Waite, Kristen Novaak, John Carney, and Andy Brogan.
According to the Scandia Good Neighbor Proclamation awarded at the City Council meeting January 21, “The group did a great deal of investigation to identify potential solutions, which led to action by the City Council for a broadband expansion project and the formation of a formal advisory group established to oversee the project. Mayor Maefsky expressed thanks and appreciation to the Internet Focus Group for their many efforts and qualities of being Scandia Good Neighbors.”