About 15 years ago, two small cities in western Oregon faced an all too common predicament for rural areas. The Internet Service Provider (ISP) told they would not see high-speed Internet access until 2020. Taking matters into their own hands, the cities of Independence and Monmouth decided to collaborate on a project to bring the latest technology to their communities.
Together they built a jointly owned Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) network, known as MINET (Monmouth Independence Network). Today, the network supports economic development and agricultural innovations. This piece focuses on only one of the cities, Independence, in order to provide an in-depth look at the community impact of the network.
Affordable & Reliable Internet Service
At the time, FTTH was almost unheard of. Even today, the technology is available to only a quarter of the entire U.S. population. MINET offers affordable, reliable connectivity for the 18,000 residents of both communities. The network has a low-cost option available to everyone of 2 Megabits per second (Mbps) for $10 per month. Other Internet access speeds available are:
50 Mbps / 25 Mbps for $50
75 Mbps / 40 Mbps for $65
100 Mbps/ 50 Mbps for $80
Residents can also subscribe to triple-play bundles of Internet, voice, and video services.
Took Time to Develop
MINET has faced a difficult financial situation even though the network has brought many benefits and opportunities to the community.
The League of Oregon cities provided a quick case study of the network in 2011. In the late 1990’s, the two cities developed a feasibility study only looking to connect the governmental buildings and the businesses. After studying the potential for offering services to residents, the cities decided to divide the project into two phases. Phase I: build fiber loops. Phase II: build the last-mile to homes and business and offer retail services.
By 2004, they had officially formed MINET as an ORS 190 entity (an official Oregon intergovernmental agreement). They also completed Phase I at...Read more