More on Zayo/Anoka County ARRA award

It will be fun to learn more about the Minnesota programs that were awarded ARRA Broadband money. Here’s more info on the Zayo award to start. Two things I found intresting. First County Commissioner Robyn West, quoted below, was a member of the Minnesota Ultra High-Speed Broadband Task Force. I remembered that she came is saying she didn’t consider herself an expert in broadband but left with a better understanding of its importance – so I have to think this project’s success is an unintended ripple from the Task Force.

Second, it was been interesting to see Anoka’s plans unfold. They have been working on this for a while with some probing discussions that did not always end with broadband on top.

Here’s their latest press release…

Contact: Martha Weaver, Public Information Manager, 763-323-5744, or e-mail:
Connect Anoka County Awarded $13.4 Million for Fiber Broadband

Connect Anoka County, a partnership of Anoka County and Zayo Bandwidth, announced today it has been awarded $13,382,593 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), to expand fiber broadband connectivity across the county.

The effort to secure an ARRA award began nearly a year ago with the creation of the Connect Anoka County project team, lead by Commissioners Jim Kordiak and Robyn West, with staff support lead by Deputy County Administrator David Minke, and Information Services Director Cindy Kevern. The team developed the project scope and, via the RFP process, established the partnership with Zayo Bandwidth.

“Fiber broadband is approximately 500 times faster than cable and twenty thousand times faster than dial-up,” said Commissioner Jim Kordiak. “If the future of our economy is the remote delivery of information, education and entertainment, then we want to be at the forefront with the fastest known technology available.”

Commissioner Robyn West said, “It’s amazing but it also makes sense that Anoka County would qualify. This project commits 61 percent of the fiber to unserved and underserved areas of the county. The entire backbone opens the door for a global economy here in Anoka County. It’s also an open door for local Internet service providers to compete to bring the fastest connectivity possible to residents’ front doors.”

Connect Anoka County plans to link 145 anchor institutions with three core rings, creating a fiber optic backbone. The backbone will connect public safety, public works, libraries, law enforcement, license centers, city and town halls, county, and community buildings. It will serve 56 public safety agencies. The backbone will provide a direct advantage to local businesses, passing directly through the county’s key business districts and economic development zones, allowing Zayo Bandwidth to offer fiber optic speeds directly to businesses.

“Anoka County and Zayo Bandwidth are prepared and eager to commence this project right away,” stated Chris Morley, CFO, Zayo Bandwidth. “Connecting the schools, public safety, and service entities presents a long-lasting benefit to any community’s well-being, and we are sincerely appreciative of the ability to help.”

The ARRA appropriated $7.2 billion to expand broadband access and adoption in communities across the United States with the goal to increase jobs, spur investments in technology and infrastructure, and provide long-term economic benefits. The Anoka County award was administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) as part of the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP).

According to the NTIA, there are three BTOP project categories: Comprehensive Community Infrastructure, Public Computer Centers, and Sustainable Broadband Adoption. Anoka County, in partnership with Zayo Bandwidth, was awarded funds under the Comprehensive Community Infrastructure category.

The category invited projects which would deploy new or improved broadband Internet facilities (e.g., laying new fiber optic cables or upgrading wireless towers) and to connect “community anchor institutions” such as schools, libraries, hospitals, and public safety facilities.

The Connect Anoka County grant proposal included more than 80 resolutions and letters of support from local businesses, school districts, cities, townships, colleges, elected officials, and public safety entities. The proposal also included a portion of southern Isanti County to incorporate the Cambridge campus of Anoka-Ramsey Community College.

The total cost of the proposed project is $19,117,990 with Zayo Bandwidth and Anoka County collectively providing a $5.7M contribution for the grant total of $13,382,593.

“We at Anoka County will now be very busy throughout the next two years ensuring that this project is a great success for Anoka County and its people,” said Kordiak. “I’m very excited and I think everyone in Anoka County should be very pleased with the awarding of this grant.”

About Anoka County

Anoka County is part of the seven-county Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area and has a population of nearly 330 thousand people. We are home to several of the world’s leading companies including Medtronic, Aveda, and ATK Security and Sporting. The word ‘Anoka’ is derived from the native Dakota word anokatanhan meaning “on both sides” referring to the Rum River which flows through the heart of the county. Anoka County is rated AAA by Standard and Poor’s.

About Zayo Bandwidth

Zayo Bandwidth, a wholly owned subsidiary of Zayo Group, owns and operates fiber optic networks totaling over 20,000 fiber route miles. Zayo Bandwidth ( offers services in 141 markets spanning 23 states. Zayo Bandwidth’s mission is to provide responsive bandwidth infrastructure solutions and a strong and growing network.

This entry was posted in Community Networks, FTTH, Funding, MN and tagged by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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