Article by: Megan DeRouchey

On November 21, 2017, AcenTek, the voice, video and internet provider out of Houston, MN, was awarded a $2 million grant from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to extend fiber broadband access to Rushford Village and the rural Rushford area. The CEDA grant writing team was able to play an instrumental role in securing this funding by drafting AcenTek’s Boarder to Boarder Broadband Grant application. CEDA utilized their grant writing services to facilitate a valuable partnership between CEDA staff members and AcenTek.

The total grant dollar amount awarded was $2,011,628.  Last year, CEDA partnered with AcenTek and was awarded $1.78 million to bring fiber-optic cable to the Lanesboro area.  To-date, the $2 million dollar grant has been the largest grant written by CEDA.

The Rushford Village/rural Rushford project was the second largest grant awarded by the state to improve broadband services. This project will allow AcenTek to extend fiber broadband services to the rural Rushford area.  AcenTek’s project is a great example of a public-private partnership–the State of Minnesota is contributing $2,011,628, Fillmore County is providing a 0% interest loan in the amount of $75,000, and AcenTek is picking up the remaining $3 million through private investment, for a total project investment of $5.2 million. This project is expected to be completed by mid-2019.

This project will serve 557 unserved and underserved homes and businesses in the Rushford Village/Rural Rushford exchange in Fillmore County.  With fiber optic cable installation, rural Rushford will see many advancements in medicine, education, and agriculture. These three industries impact nearly every home in rural Rushford and Rushford Village.