Almost three times as much money as is available in state grant funding is being sought by Minnesota communities looking to expand broadband Internet infrastructure.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development said Wednesday it had received more than $29 million in applications for grants, which will total roughly $10.6 million when awarded.

Forty-four entities have applied for money.

Awards are expected to be announced in November. Successful communities must match their state allocation, which is capped at $5 million. Seventeen entities won grants in last year's round when there was almost twice as much money to hand out.

The grants are intended to help build out broadband to areas without high-speed Internet or without wide access to it.

associated press