BEK seeking support for rural Internet services grant
By Annette Tait
ural residents not served by a reliable Internet service know the frustration of slow, intermittent connectivity or, worse yet, no connectivity at all.
BEK Communications Cooperative wants to provide reliable, high-speed fiber-based communications service to southeast Oliver and Morton county residents who reside in the area from I-94 north approximately 20 miles reaching into southeast Oliver County and from the Missouri River west up to the West River Telecom service area, excluding areas within the Mandan city limits, and is working on a USDA Rural Utilities Community Connect Grant application that will allow them to do so.
“We’ve had a lot of support from the people we’ve talked to,” BEK Product and Promotions Marketing Analyst Dawn Hopkins said during one of the information meetings held last week. “The one thing about grants is that they have really quick deadlines. So we’re struggling a little bit trying to reach out to as many people as we can [for support] before we have to submit our grant.”
In addition to clearly demonstrating that people in the designated area are underserved, support from residents, businesses and other potential users increases the potential for funding to be awarded. BEK has prepared a survey and a letter template for residents in the designated area to complete and return; other contributions are also welcome.