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June 3, 2020

2/14/2019 4:12:00 PM
Broadband project completed in Fish Lake, event Feb. 18

About 13 months ago the news everybody was excited about, in Fish Lake Township, was the DEED broadband grant awarded for extending internet high capacity and high speed fiber services throughout the township.  The project has now been completed,  and residents are invited to a “ribbon cutting” next week to celebrate the grassroots effort instrumental in making this happen.  The official project completion is being commemorated at Fish Lake Township Hall, Monday February 18, at 9 a.m.   

Internet  provider,  CenturyLink, will have a local representative at the hall until 11 a.m. to assist with questions and customer sign-up.  

Township property owners with very large lots can find out more about a special waiver now, for “dropping” the service in cases where more than 700 feet of individual serviceline is needed.  Ordinarily there’s a surcharge when the distance is greater than 700 feet for fiber off the rural main trunk to the connection.

Fish Lake Township officials and activist residents first surveyed township property owners about three years ago, to measure their interest in improving internet.  After receiving a positive response, the committee structured a cooperative project using township funds (approximately $500,000), partnering with CenturyLink, which successfully applied for state broadband program aid and which had also received CAF-II congressional funding for this township-wide project.  (Stories in Press Sept 2, 2017 and Dec. 5, 2017.)

Chisago County Economic Development Authority (EDA) Director Nancy Hoffman said she is currently working on two more township-based internet enhancement efforts but they are in very early stages and she preferred to not say more.

“I am happy to work with any township or government that wants to figure out how to bring faster, more reliable service to their community.”

This broadband project will provide one gig per second service, which exceeds Minnesota’s Year 2026 goal for broadband capability.  

The state’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and the governor had asked for $60 million to assist in broadband projects in legislative sessions leading up to Fish Lake’s project winning funding.  The program received $20 million authorized by the legislature.  

In the two year funding discussions underway now in St. Paul the broadband program aid levels proposed are $35 million each year.

CenturyLink won $1,833,724 for the Fish Lake fiber project out of over 40 awards in the 2017 grant funding round.

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