County nets grant to improve broadband internet

| August 27, 2020 1:00 AM

BONNERS FERRY — Boundary County was recently notified by the Idaho Department of Commerce that 12 broadband internet projects submitted by the county under the Idaho Broadband grant program have been approved. Funding for the projects total more than $1.3 million, Andrew O’Neel, director of the Boundary County Office of Emergency Management and county public information officer, said in a press release.

The Idaho Broadband grant program is funding broadband internet projects across Idaho that improve broadband infrastructure and service for Idaho residents.

The program was funded and approved by the Coronavirus Financial Advisory Committee to use CARES Act funds to enable projects across the state that create and retain local jobs and result in purposeful outcomes, including distance learning, telehealth, public safety, commerce, and overall well-being.

Boundary County submitted grant applications in mid-July to the Idaho Department of Commerce for 12 different projects to improve household wireless internet service in the underserved areas of Boundary County. One project to increase service to the existing fiber optic system was also submitted but was not approved for funding.

Boundary County received notification that all 12 of the “household” wireless project proposals have been approved for funding in an amount of just over $1.3 million.

The providing companies are EL Internet Northwest and Intermax Networks. In general, the areas to receive improved access to broadband internet service are:

1. East of Moyie to the Montana State line and the Curley Creek Area

2. Camp 9 area along Highway 95 and Highway 1, to Eastport and Porthill and the Northern part of the Moyie River Road

3. Naples, Highland Flats and Deep Creek areas

4. East of Bonners Ferry

5. North of City of Moyie Springs

Boundary County commissioners thanked Gov. Brad Little and his team for recognizing the needs of rural Idaho and taking advantage of this opportunity to provide the necessary funding for those parts of Idaho that struggle for adequate internet service for our citizens.

“Finalization of these projects is a much-needed infrastructure improvement for our county,” county officials said in the press release.

The approved projects must be completed by mid-December 2020.