Regional provider Arvig and Redwood County, Minnesota, have agreed to work together on a $4.4 million public-private partnership to bring fiber to eight cities in the county.
The linchpin of the project will be approval of an application for a $1.3 million grant that Arvig and the county will make to the State of Minnesota Border to Border Broadband Development Grant program.
That funding would be supplemented by $1.2 million from Arvig and a local match of $1.9 million from the county. The county’s contribution will be money secured through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
If the Border to Border grant is received, the project will bring 1 Gbps connectivity to residential customers and 10 Gbps service to businesses in Belview, Clements, Morgan, Seaforth, Vesta, Wabasso, Walnut Grove and Wanda. More than 1,870 structures will be served, which represents about 30% of Redwood County residents.
If it goes forward, the Arvig public-private partnership project would be completed in June, 2025.
Redwood County ranks 85 out of 87 in the state, measured by the level of access to an internet speed of at least 100 Mbps download, and 20 Mbps upload speed, Arvig said.
“Arvig is committed to bringing the highest quality broadband services to Redwood County,” Mark Birkholz, Arvig’s Director of Customer Operations and Southern Markets, said in a press release. “Fiber will reliably serve homes and businesses with the speeds these communities need for work [and] daily life and [will outpace] most areas in our highly connected world.”
Arvig is deeply involved in Minnesota broadband. In March, the company said it would invest $19.9 million to improve Internet access and upgrade networks in Audubon, Morgan, Parkers Prairie, Perham, Red Del, Vesta and Walnut Grove. The company is inthesixth year of a decade-long commitment to deploy funds from the FCC’s Alternative Connect America Cost Model (ACAM).
The prospective project is another example of the increasing use of public-private partnerships for broadband. Earlier this month, Breezeline announced two public-private partnerships to extend broadband to Cecil, St.Mary’s and Queen Anne’s counties in Maryland.