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Broadband survey is live

by Trinity Gruenberg

The Todd County Broadband Coalition held a meeting on January 12.

There was a discussion to ask the county for some of their ARPA funds, as it does state it can be used for broadband infrastructure. Turtle Creek and Long Prairie Townships were willing to use some of their ARPA funds.

More potential funding sources were being looked at as well.

They also discussed making sure the survey is smartphone-friendly.

John Peters was not in attendance but left information with Katlyn Dykhoff. He spoke with Ben Winchester with the U of M and decided the Accelerate program’s website would work best for the coalition. They will also have a link for an internet speed test. Their preferred site is being updated.

Alex Weego was not in attendance and relayed to Tyler Hoffman that he has had some computer issues. He is working with the Initiative Foundation to get the grants approved.

Lakewood Health System is planning to approach its board about donating $5000 to the cause. The city of Hewitt set aside $10,000 from their ARPA funds for broadband. Sourcewell is working on their grants as well.

Weego will speak to the city’s attorney to see if they can provide legal services for the coalition.

Julie Polak suggested sending a letter to all the cities to see if they want to be a part of this coalition. Hoffman and Dykhoff are looking to be placed on Clarissa and Eagle Bend’s council agenda to share information and see if the cities are willing to help out.

They have created an introduction for the survey. It was agreed that the vision statement will be: To provide affordable, reliable, high-speed internet to the citizens of Todd County in order to enhance and allow more opportunities for our communities, our economy, our education systems and healthcare facilities.

Ken Hovet spoke with John Kringen at the Long Prairie-Grey Eagle Schools as well as CentraCare Foundation in Long Prairie about donating funds.

Rick Utech, Todd County Economic Development, said they can help with filing for non-profit status. The process takes about a year and will cost about $1000.

As a contingency, the coalition will talk to the cities of Bertha and Hewitt to see if one of them would be willing to be a financial agent until they can get their non-profit status.

They agreed to purchase the domain name for $13 per year.

They reviewed and discussed the survey questions.

The survey was launched online on January 19.

A committee was formed of Ken Hovet, John Peters and Trinity Gruenberg to interview internet providers.

As of January 18, the website was updated with the new domain name You can message the coalition through the website and their Facebook page. You can email them at

A link to the survey can be found on the website and Facebook. The purpose of the survey is a feasibility study to determine how many people would use the service and what coverage there is now. Also, how large scale the project can span.

Todd County ranks 82 out of the 87 counties for broadband coverage.

They discussed putting together stories for the media, using individual stories and data to explain the need for broadband. They would also like people to share their stories for the website. They will send suggestions of who to speak with to Gruenberg. She would like a mix of parents, farmers, business owners and those trying to use telehealth.

The next meeting is on February 2 at 7:30 p.m.

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