Sibley commissioners OK public broadband project

Sibley County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to take part in a $70-million public broadband project. The vote means farms in the most rural parts of Sibley County could soon have the option of high-speed Internet.

Robynne Schoenbauer lives on a Sibley County farm, about 50 miles southwest of the Twin Cities. She supports the project because she says current Internet options in the area are outdated, with some farms still using dial-up connections.

"It's going to be a great thing for the kids growing up in this area. They can go off to college and be on a level playing field with kids that came from the cities or areas that have strong Internet presence," Schoenbauer said.

"At the end, everyone in the room applauded," she added. "The commissioners were all smiling. So I think this really brought us together. And it's going to be a great thing for Sibley County."

In voting to participate in the project, Sibley County joins 10 cities in central Minnesota along with Renveille County.

On Thursday, all participating communities will vote to authorize the sale of bonds to pay for the project.

Still not everyone is on board with the idea. The city of Arlington voted to not participate in the project because city leaders thought the business plan will fail meaning the city could lose thousands of dollars.

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