Broadband options around Marshall

For the second in her Broadband series, Deb Rau from the Marshall Independent focused on broadband options available in the area. Cable (first in the form of Prairiewave, now Knology) has been a big players in towns such as Tracy.

I love the look back in her article…

“Before that [cable], there was dial-up. It was 56 kilobits per second, if you could get it,” said David Spencer, finance director for the city of Tracy, and a local resident. Getting a telecommunications hookup in town was “very big, not just for the Internet, but for telephones and cable television too.”

Remember when you had to convince an Internet service provider to bring dialup to your area? I was one of the people you called if you wanted MRNet to come to your town. I remember getting the calls and I remember visiting areas where the Internet was a long distance phone call. It wasn’t that long ago.

The article recognizes the expense of bringing infrastructure to rural areas where the population density is lower, which means fewer customers per mile, which in turn means you have to cover more miles. But that being said, local providers in the area have talked about customer base tripling in the last 5 years.

Cable isn’t the only option, wireless is mentioned too…

Some groups have opted to pursue alternatives to cable-based Internet in southwest Minnesota, however. About four years ago, the Southwest/West Central Service Cooperative invested in a system of microwave wireless towers to provide high-speed Internet to a total of 31 school districts in the region. Minnesota Valley Television also uses a wireless network to bring Internet service to rural areas.

The MVTV wireless network was another good option for Tracy.

MVTV received ARRA funding so their area is about to expand. They weren’t the only providers in Southwest Minnesota to receive funding. The Southwest Minnesota Broadband Group has received moved to deploy fiber – but maybe I’m getting ahead of the Marshall series on broadband.

This entry was posted in Cable, MN, Rural, Wireless by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

2 thoughts on “Broadband options around Marshall

  1. Thanks for the heads up! I know this is kind of off topic – but I wish they would really start using the technology (maybe iPads!) and forget about textbook if for no other reason than small children and sore backs. I can barely lift my 10-year-old’s back pack!

    I’m about to do a post on this article too that I promise will be more on topic.

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