MPR’s Broadband 7: Construction to begin on many ARRA projects soon

Dave Peters from Minnesota Public Radio’s Ground Level has been following seven communities in Minnesota that are taking different paths to better broadband. This week he posted a two-part series/follow up on their progress. I’ll provide a super Reader’s Digest version below – click through to the story for more details…

Cook County: Locally they will be start laying fiber on July 25. The plan is to meet up with Arrowhead Electric Cooperative’s fiber next year. Arrowhead has been pre-registering customer this year – and that effort is going well.

Lake County: Lake Communications has taken over the project, which has had a rocky start. Lake County officials are meeting with RUS folks this week to talk about the project to make sure everyone is heading in the same direction. Local cable providers Mediacom are less than thrilled with the project.

Lac qui Parle County: LqP ran into a hiccup when construction costs came in high – but the local providers (Famers Mutual) have agreed to up their investment. Now they are just waiting on fiber. Turns out there’s a bit of a fiber shortage these days.

Windom: It’s going to sound familiar – the bids were higher than expected and fiber it tough to find – but they have a groundbreaking planned for next week – so movement is forward.

Sibley County: Sibley is still talking and trying to find a way to provide broadband to town and rural areas in Sibley and Renville Counties. The immediate goal is to get 3,000 to commit to an interest in service (not commit to service, just interest). So far they have received 1500.

Todd County: Todd County is doing a fiber feasibility study with support from the Blandin Foundation and are working with Arvig Communications Systems. It’s nice to have the private partner at the table.

Redwood County: Redwood is still thinking about broadband and they are watching to see what happens around them.

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