CenturyLink has some broadband plans for Kanabec

On Monday we wrote about Kanabec Broadband Initiative (KBI) and their efforts to improve broadband access in their area. As you may recall, KBI contacted CenturyLink, the incumbent provider, but had not received a very hopeful response. The Kanabec County Times reported on the communication between KBI and CenturyLink…

However, one of CenturyLink’s responses in a Sept. 30 letter stated, “After receiving your letter I requested that my management team report back to me on the costs associated with your request for a minimum 10 MB speed to every home and business within the county. For proprietary reasons I’m unable to share with you the estimated costs of meeting this goal in Kanabec County.”

The letter continued, “However, I can tell you that it represents many millions of dollars at a significant cost per household or business passed that under current business models do not generate a return on the investment.”

Yesterday, the Kanabec County Times published a follow-up, Letter to the Editor from Carrie Amann at CenturyLink…

I am pleased to report that since receiving a letter from community leaders regarding broadband availability and speed concerns, CenturyLink has committed to a project that will increase broadband speeds to customers in Mora.

In fact, nearly 20 percent of the living units and businesses in the county that are served out of the Mora wire center will soon be able to receive 12MB speeds.

We anticipate this project to be complete by the end of November. At that time, we will begin contacting customers who are eligible for the new speeds.

While this won’t immediately meet the county’s goals of ubiquitous coverage, it is an initial step in building out the network.

This is good news – for almost 20 percent of the living units served by the Mora wire center. It is heartening to see the conversation between KBI and CenturyLink continue – albeit via the local newspaper. It looks as if it takes a village to raise broadband in a community – everyone has a role to play. Getting community leaders, incumbent providers, local newspapers and others involved in the process can help raise awareness of barriers and create opportunities to overcome barriers. Something for other communities to consider as they move forward with plans.

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