Thanks to Minnesota Public Radio for an update on stimulus broadband projects in NE MN. A massive non-profit middle-mile project called the NorthEast Service Cooperative will finally provide redundancy and modern connections to an area long neglected by Qwest.
Hundreds of miles of fiber optic cables will bring faster Internet access to the Arrowhead region of Minnesota by the end of this summer. Ground for a broadband network stretching 915 miles was broken yesterday. Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and other politicians were on hand to tout the long-term economic significance of this federally funded project.
Soon, entire counties will not have to fear disastrous meltdowns from Qwest's inability to offer reliable services, as when they went 12 hours without any telecommunications, meaning police could not run background checks or run plates, credit cards and ATMs went offline, and border security had to use Canadian comms.
The 915 miles of fiber optic network will stretch across eight counties in the Arrowhead Region and bring world class web speeds to the area.
State lawmakers were also on hand at the ceremony and say this type of technology is pivotal to economic development.
"I want this to be the next step in people realizing that economic diversification on the Iron Range can be done because we are wired, we're ready to go, and we have a work force that is second to none," said state Sen. David Tomassoni.
We have to wonder how many of these legislators will support removing barriers in Minnesota law to communities building their own networks.
Note that the the NE Service Coop is a middle-mile network and that Frontier will be using it to improve their services.