MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Federal Communications Commission announced Monday it will provide $28.5 million in broadband funding to rural households in Minnesota.

The FCC says the money will benefit more than 8,000 homes and businesses in Minnesota that are currently unserved. The funding, which providers will begin receiving in late August, will be distributed over the next 10 years. The announcement comes as the fourth wave of support from last year’s Connect American Fund Phase II auction.

“In Minnesota, this round of funding takes yet another step toward closing the digital divide, providing access to digital opportunity to nearly 8,100 unserved rural homes and businesses,” FCC chairman Ajit Pai said.

The FCC says providers must build out to 40% of the assigned homes and businesses within three years. Buildout must increase by 20% in each year afterward, and should be completed by the end of the 6th year.

Counties receiving the most funding include Yellow Medicine, Polk, Traverse, Mower, Marshall, Freeborn, Blue Earth and Kittson.

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