CTC Breaks Ground On New Broadband Project In Todd County
Around 600 residents and business customers in rural Todd County will soon have access to broadband internet thanks to a USDA Community Connect grant. CTC, Consolidated Communication Company, held a groundbreaking ceremony today in Browerville to celebrate the start of the project.
“We’ll be bringing broadband to 600 residents and business customers in three townships in a very rural area of Todd County,” said CTC CEO and General Manager Kristi Westbrock.
The project has been years in the making and will bring high-speed internet to rural Todd County residents, many of whom before this relied on spotty cell phone service for their internet connection.
“My husband signed up. We were the first ones to sign up. He’s been dissatisfied with our service for years, and so we’re really looking forward to having great service,” Todd County resident Joanne Folkert said.
The project is being funded by a $2.1 million grant through the USDA Community Connect program.
According to the Federal Communications Commission, access to broadband is essential for expanding educational and economic opportunities for consumers in remote locations.
“The economic development that comes with bringing connectivity to areas, all the way from what people can do in their homes from a work perspective, small business development,” Westbrock explained. “But also things like telemedicine and the telehealth world, education for our students. It’s endless what the economic development prosperity pieces are that the internet can bring.”
According to officials, broadband was especially needed in rural Todd County where many farmers rely on the internet to conduct and grow their businesses.
“Whether it be to buy and sell cattle, sell their crops, it makes a huge difference on getting in on the auctions and being on time,” said Rick Utech, Todd County Economic Development Director. “Being able to bid on things and sell their products.”
“Right now we have a hard time even getting cell phone reception in our area, and for the area farmers and business people it will be unbelievable to have the internet, and fast internet, service,” added Todd County Commissioner Barb Becker.
Community members, CTC, and local officials are excited to get started on the project and to have high-speed, advanced internet access right in rural Todd County.
“Now, you can get up to a [gigabit per second] internet service. It’s fantastic. Just everywhere you look, everybody’s excited,” Utech said.
“When you go from not having access to serviced to being able to say you’re going to have fiber optics at your home with gigabit services, they’re thrilled. We’re just looking forward to getting the plows in the ground and getting people services,” said Westbrock.
The project is set to start right at the beginning of June, and CTC hopes to have customers connected to the new services by the fall.