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Broadband grant funds available for those in the local area

WILLMAR -- Local organizations have a chance to apply for grants to help them increase both access to broadband and the use of broadband technology.

About $100,000 in grant funding is available.

The money comes from the C.K. Blandin Foundation's Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities program and was allocated by the U.S. Department of Commerce's NTIA Broadband Technologies Opportunities Program.

Local units of government, health care facilities, schools and nonprofits are urged to apply. Private for-profit entities also may participate in partnership with eligible organizations.

The deadline for applications is Oct. 22. Project proposals can request up to $30,000 in grant money.

Organizers hope to fund at least four projects aimed at increasing the use of broadband. At least one of these projects also must address digital inclusion.

Projects can provide widespread community benefits and be open to large numbers of residents. For example, a project might involve training in how to use computers and the Internet, or developing websites for community organizations.

Projects that primarily benefit individual organization or are equipment purchases are required to provide matching cash or in-kind services. Examples of these kinds of projects include telehealth applications for a hospital, a web server for a local unit of government, or an e-commerce website for an organization such as a chamber of commerce.

For more information, contact Jean Spaulding, Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission, 333 Litchfield Ave. S.W., Suite 100, Box 1783, Willmar, Minn. 56201, 235-7370 or

For more information about the Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities program, visit