Last week we wrote about the partnership between Long Prairie, Minnesota and the forward-thinking and locally minded local telephone cooperative CTC to build a citywide fiber network and bring affordable, high-speed Internet to everyone in town.
Long Prairie isn’t alone, however, among north-central Minnesota communities needing better options, and for at least two others CTC has become a natural partner. This is both because of its location - offering service across the region in Sullivan Lake, Randall, Pillager, Outing, Nokay Lake, Nisswa, Motley, Mission, Lincoln, Leader, Freedhem, Ely, Brainerd, Baxter, and Crosby - and because it has become one of the most aggressive fiber builders in the state.
Two other cities, specifically, Ely and Little Falls, have also partnered with CTC to bring fiber loops to their business districts. Both communities have faced challenges when it came to building and connecting their residents and businesses to a fiber network.
Dealt a Poor Hand, Ely Forged Ahead
The City of Ely sits on the Southern side of Shagawa Lake with a population of 3,500. While iron used to be what drove the economy, today Ely is a tourist destination and is known as the entry point for the Boundary Waters.
Back in 2010, the City of Ely was in a difficult position. There were plans to bring FTTH to the city as part of the Lake County’s county-wide FTTH broadband project. But unfortunately, the project faced a number of obstacles (including pole attachment agreements, weather, and financing issues), and ultimately construction ended before it could reach Ely.
Likewise, the nearby region has seen improved middle-mile connectivity in the recent past. The Telecommunications and Technology division of the Northeast Service Cooperative (NESC), which owns...Read more