RUSHFORD VILLAGE, Minn. (KTTC) – Depending on where you live, high-speed internet service is not always easily accessible, especially for those who live in rural areas.
Houston-based company AcenTek is expanding broadband internet service in rural areas of Winona and Fillmore Counties, with some help from the Office of Broadband Development, the Community and Economic Development Associates and others.
“It’s really become a critical piece of infrastructure for the long-term economic health of our rural communities,” said Danna MacKenzie, Executive Director of the Office of Broadband Development
AcenTek celebrated on Wednesday the kick-off of the “Fiber the Home” project, a public-private partnership with the state and Fillmore County.
A golden shovel groundbreaking at the work site celebrates the project that will serve more than 550 businesses and homes.
“Internet is the go-to technology for people to use,” said Darren Moser, AcenTek Chief Financial Officer.
“Fiber broadband to the rural areas really helps the county retain a high quality of life and be an attractive place to live and do business,” said Marty Walsh, Fillmore County Economic Development Authority Director.
AcenTek said the technology allows for internet, voice and video. The project was financed in part by a state grant and a Fillmore County loan.
“The state through their grant program has kicked in about 39, 38%. Fillmore county has kicked in a loan of $75,000 to help make it possible, and then AcenTek is kicking about, roughly, the other 62% of the project, which is about six point – I want to say six and a half million dollar project,” said Moser. “Having these partnerships is critical to making sure that the rural areas are not left behind as compared to the urban areas.”
AcenTek expects construction to be finished next fall, and they’ll spend the following year working with customers.