Winona, MN – High-speed broadband Internet service will be coming to parts of rural Winona County next year thanks to a pair of grants awarded to Hiawatha Broadband Communications, Inc., (HBC) and Winona County.
The grants, awarded November 20, 2015 through the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program, will partially fund broadband expansion projects in the Cedar Valley and Whitewater State Park areas.
HBC President/CEO Dan Pecarina said the decision to apply for funding was made following a meeting held in May to address the need of broadband services in the county, particularly those areas with difficult terrain.
“Current providers have never brought broadband service to rural areas of the county and this significantly impacts education and economic development,” said Pecarina. “HBC is concerned about connecting families with school-aged children to broadband so they don’t get left behind in school. These two projects will help expand educational opportunities for rural students in the Winona, Lewiston, and St. Charles school districts.”
Due to the strong desire expressed by residents and businesses for broadband service, Winona County and HBC began collaborating on an application and together identified Cedar Valley and the area surrounding Whitewater State Park for partnering on grant applications.
The total grant awards were just under $1.6 million and do require matching funds. The Whitewater project was awarded $247,000 with HBC investing the remainder of the $773,000 for the project. The Cedar Valley project was awarded just over $314,000. The total project cost is estimated at $800,000. Winona County will contribute $100,000 and HBC will cover the remaining cost of the project.
The end result of both projects will be high-speed broadband connectivity for nearly 400 residences and approximately 200 businesses.
Construction on each project will begin in Spring 2016 with broadband services expected to be active by the end of the 2016.
About us: Hiawatha Broadband Communications, Inc. (HBC) delivers cutting edge telecommunications services to communities in southeastern Minnesota. Founded in 1997, HBC builds and operates hybrid fiber and Fiber-To-The-Premise networks as well as providing wireless broadband in rural areas. The company offers a video service selection of more than 360 channels (including over 100 in high-definition), digital music, pay-per-view and extensive local programming produced by HBC Studios. The company has over 125 employees supporting, retail, wholesale, construction, business consulting and Wizard support divisions in over 17 communities.
For additional information, or to schedule an interview, please contact David Dicke at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (507) 474-5884.