Pine County announced today that it was awarded a $75,000 Blandin Foundation grant to assist in advancing high-speed Internet access and use in its local communities.
Named a Blandin Broadband Community (BBC) in September 2021, Pine County leaders have since worked with a program consultant to convene community members to identify technology priorities and create projects to address them.
Projects developed during community visioning sessions that received funding include:
- Hiring a Google-certified trainer to deliver technology trainings to local businesses and professionals to help with Google Maps, website and social media.
- Installing fixed wireless in Chengwatana Township.
- Installing fixed wireless to reach Pine City Township town hall and surrounding areas.
- Installing last-mile fiber cable to the Kerrick Town Hall.
“We know that our limited access to reliable high-speed broadband hinders our ability to use technology in our homes and businesses and unfortunately also reduces our ability to access education and business resources. We are excited to construct broadband infrastructure and provide technology education with this grant,” says Lezlie Sauter, Pine County’s economic development coordinator.
Local chambers of commerce in Pine City, Hinckley & Moose Lake will be assisting with the delivery of the “Going Google in Pine County”, which will help businesses get on Google maps, understand how to use the google tools and workspace, and learn to become their own social media graphic designer using Canva. For more information on this opportunity or to get registered, reach out to Becky Schueller at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 320.322.4040.
Local internet service providers SCI Broadband (Hinckley) and Starwire Technologies (Siren, WI) are working to bring a minimum of 100 Mbps/10Mbps broadband service to Kerrick Town Hall, Chengwatana Town Hall and rural areas surrounding Pine City (Pine City Township, Royalton Township & Pokegama Township). Each has contributed 50% of the project cost, which is matched with the Blandin grant funds.
About Pine County: Since January 2021, Pine County has made improving access to broadband a priority. Through its participation in the Community Broadband Resources: Accelerate program, the deployment of a broadband assessment and becoming a Blandin Broadband Community, an additional $2.8 million has been secured to work on broadband infrastructure.
For more information contact: Lezlie Sauter, email@example.com, 320.591.0019