Jackson – when it rains it pours broadband

Thanks to John Shepard for sending me a recent article from the Jackson Pilot. It drives me crazy – but Jackson Pilot does a really good job of posting teaser articles online persuading folks to go buy a paper for the whole scoop. (If I ran the paper, I might do it that way too.) The scoop in question today is community plans for fiber versus the city cable system. From a broadband blogger perspective this sounds like a nice problem to have – “too many” broadband options.

Here’s the main gist from the part of the article that is available online…

Last Tuesday, council members shelved a recommendation from the utilities commission to direct city cable TV department manager Curt Egeland to provide cost figures to the commission for upgrading Jackson’s cable TV system for the purpose of making it all digital and independent of the rural electric association’s signal. The commission had earlier tabled such action due to the city’s involvement in Southwest Minnesota Broadband Service’s fiber-to-the-premise project, which promises to compete with the city’s cable TV system and — eventually — replace it.

But at the commission’s July 25 meeting, member Kevin Speiker said that might not be such a good idea.

It seems as if Spieker is concerned about quality of service and thinks that the costs of upgrading the cable system have probably come down since they last investigated. City council member Ken Temple spoke out indicating that time would be better spent focused on fiber rather than cable. The topic has been shelved for now as a meeting has been scheduled between commission members and folks at Southwest Minnesota Broadband Group (SMBG).

I spoke with the folks at SMBS – they indicated that the folks they have contacted seem very enthusiastic about fiber – wondering what it might take to be first on the list for installation. ..

Members of the SMBS management group are meeting with the Jackson PUC in the near future to answer any questions they might have. SMBS will also be opening a sales/construction office in Jackson in the near future as construction in Jackson will be begin soon. SMBS has attended Jackson community events and has received positive feedback from the citizens of Jackson mostly asking when they can have the service and excited to finally have a choice for broadband service besides Qwest/CenturyLink and the limited wireless choices available today.

“While a new digital video headend might bring better video service to Jackson (which will be comparable to the services that SMBS is providing), the real issue is that there are not enough broadband options within Jackson”, stated Project Consultant John Schultz. SMBS will offer not only a better video service that is available today but also finally open the broadband market in Jackson.

This entry was posted in Cable, FTTH, MN, Policy, Rural 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.

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