FOLEY -- Benton County is planning to capitalize on a unique opportunity to install fiber optic cable from Foley to St. Cloud.

Soon, work will begin to connect Foley's wastewater system to St. Cloud's wastewater treatment plant. That means the trench will already be open to run the fiber connection to St. Cloud.

County Administrator Monty Headley says Benton County is receiving $8-million in state bonding money to complete the 11-mile sewer line to St. Cloud and for another approximately $300,000 they can get broadband out to Foley.

Headley says as soon as next week they will be discussing with the city of Foley what the cost share of the project should look like, but he envisions the county being the lead partner on the project and owning the fiber optic lines.

Headley says it's an economic development issue as we see a growing need for broadband in rural areas.

The project is expected to be completed by early 2022.

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