The $19 million Connect Anoka County project is creating a network that initially will link 145 public institutions in the county. It was started two years ago in collaboration with Zayo Bandwidth of Denver to match what officials said was the growing need for reliable high-speed Internet and to connect government databases and servers to a faster private network.
Much of the cost is being covered by a $13.4 million federal grant from the National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA); it was approved in 2009 as part of the nationwide federal stimulus package. The rest of the bill is split between Zayo and Anoka County at $2.8 million each.
County Commissioner Jim Kordiak, one of the founders of the project, said one of the County Board’s main concerns was to reach underserved citizens.
The fiber is intended to reach only anchor institutions – but there are plans to work commercial providers to extend access to end customers. In fact the Anoka group heard from folks in the field on different options for working with such providers last month.
The Star Tribune reports that the Anoka fiber project is about 75 percent finished with completion expected in October 2012.