Thanks to Gary Fields for passing on the following update on Lake County:
Lake County Submits RUS Loan Application for Fiber Network
Lake County, a rural county in northeastern Minnesota, has submitted a $34.5 million loan application to the USDA Rural Utility Service Broadband Loan Program. The proposed fiber network will include approximately 800 miles of fiber and serve over 7,300 homes and 500 businesses. Construction is expected to begin in 2010 and services are expected to be available in 2011. The application was developed by National Public Broadband, Inc., a new non-profit organization that was launched in May to assist communities develop and operate municipal fiber networks. NPB is led by Dr. Tim Nulty the Director of ECFiber in Vermont and the former manager of Burlington Telecom. NPB will design, build and operate the county-owned open access network and also provide retail voice, video and data services.
“There are many communities that understand the importance of fiber networks to their economic development, but they generally do not have the expertise to develop and operate the networks,” says Tim Nulty, “but as an independent, non-profit organization, we can do that efficiently in partnership with the community.” Gary Fields, NPB CFO adds, “With the public financing that is now available, we can serve rural areas, not just small communities. It is a level of market penetration that incumbents have not been able to reach.”
For more information, see www.nationalpublicbroadband.org