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State broadband funding

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Posted: Thursday, March 9, 2017 6:00 am

Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative testified at the senate committee hearing on jobs and economic growth finance and policy regarding broadband funding for rural Minnesota on Monday, Feb. 27.

Stacy Cluff is the information systems and technology administrator at MLEC. Cluff spoke in support of increasing funding for broadband grants available to rural areas; changing grant terms by reducing the required match; and determining funding amounts for a two year period.

During her testimony, Cluff stated, “MLEC is committed to investing in our members and community; however, we are unable to undertake the level of financial risk of extending fiber to all our rural members without financial assistance.”

For rural areas like Aitkin and Mille Lacs counties, the grant program is extremely important. Increasing the funding available and reducing the match would allow MLEC to plan and pursue additional projects.

“Let’s hope history can repeat itself by cooperatives connecting rural Minnesotan’s to broadband, just as they connected them to electricity 75 years ago,” Cluff said.

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