More on Carver County’s ARRA-funded broadband project

A couple of weeks ago, Carver County got the good word on their ARRA application. Here’s a quick reminder on their project…

Carver County – This nearly $6 million award will allow the County of Carver to offer affordable middle-mile broadband service in south central Minnesota. The project plans to connect schools, libraries, and community colleges, including the Waconia Library and the South Metro campus of the Dunwoody College of Technology, to improve educational services, distance learning, and remote teaching. The project also proposes to construct 121 miles of new fiber that will be open to as many as nine last-mile providers in the region in order to improve commercial broadband availability and adoption. As many as 57,600 people stand to benefit as do 2,700 businesses.

The Sun Patriot recently provided more information on Carver County and their plans…

“The grant means we can leverage local funding to build a much needed fiber ring for county government and then use federal funds to add connections to the ring to benefit the greatest possible number of other public entities,” [Carver County Board Chair James] Ische said. “In addition, the redundant ring makes it possible for the private sector to offer last-mile broadband service to residents and businesses throughout the county. Even those in the rural areas will have access and be able to reap the benefits of high-speed broadband services.”

The fiber ring will be nearly 89 miles long, run directly through every city in the county, and have an additional 32 miles in lateral connections. The 121 miles of new fiber will be open to as many as nine private last-mile providers in the region to improve commercial broadband availability and adoption. Instead of connecting nine sites as it was originally proposed, the fiber ring will initially connect to 55 sites that represent 86 “anchor institutions.”

Referred to as the Carver County Open Fiber Initiative (CCOFI), the anchor institutions represent a far-reaching collection of city, county and township governments, schools, fire departments, public safety towers, law enforcement agencies, community support organizations, and healthcare providers. All six school districts with buildings in Carver County will be connected to the ring through connections to a total of 28 public school buildings. The public will be able to access high-speed Internet at all six county libraries and at the Workforce Service Center.

Carver County will own the ring and will manage and support the fiber network deployed to the other public anchor institutions. The county will not support private sector businesses or residents who connect to the ring. That will be left up to the private companies. They will have equal opportunity to deploy last-mile infrastructure to the ring and provide network management to private businesses and residents.

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

About Ann Treacy

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

1 thought on “More on Carver County’s ARRA-funded broadband project

  1. This is a nice project. It was interesting that Scott County could do this same project with zero stimulus dollars by financing the project with savings on existing telecom services. Scott County has had less success in using their ring as a tool for economic development and for stimulating last mile infrastructure development.

    It would be truly interesting if either Cook or Lake Counties would receive funding for their last mile projects enabling connection to the Northeast Service Coop’s middle mile network.

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