ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — State officials have announced $26 million in grants to expand high-speed internet access in Greater Minnesota.

Lt. Gov. Tina Smith and the Department of Employment and Economic Development announced the 2017 Border-to-Border Broadband Grant recipients Tuesday. The latest grants go to 39 broadband infrastructure projects across Minnesota aimed at providing access to reliable and affordable high-speed internet.

Smith says it’s unfair that nearly 20 percent of households in Greater Minnesota don’t have the same high-speed internet connections as in the Twin Cities. She says the grants will “expand educational, health and job opportunities for thousands of Minnesotans.”

The grants will bring enhanced broadband to 9,900 households, 2,100 businesses and 60 community institutions.

Gov. Mark Dayton secured $20 million to expand high-speed internet access during the last legislative session.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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