Cook County 2013 Broadband review

Thanks a million to Arrowhead Electric Co-op for an update on their network…

The 2013 construction season began late in the spring, thanks to winter’s second wind. Construction began in March with workers stringing overhead fiber and splicing fiber in the Grand Marais area. Work picked up quickly once the snow melted and road restrictions were lifted. Was it really June or did it just feel like last winter was that long? It really was that long, but our construction crews accomplished a good deal over the summer and fall anyway.

So what does that really mean? From the start at the Cook and Lake County line, through the West End, Grand Marais, up the Gunflint Trail and east toward Grand Portage, Arrowhead Cooperative’s contractors and construction partners have constructed 283 miles of aerial mainline fiber and 148 miles of buried mainline fiber on the project to date. That’s 431 miles of fiber for mainlines alone. Workers also built 75 miles of aerial fiber and 114 miles of buried fiber from the main lines to homes and businesses in Cook County. In case you’ve lost count, the total miles of fiber optic cable constructed on the project through 2013 is 620. If you laid each piece of fiber that has been installed so far end to end, it could take you the same distance from our office to Omaha, Nebraska!

Construction Type Miles of Fiber Built Distance from Arrowhead to: Aerial Drops 75 Knife River State Park, past Two Harbors Buried Drops 114 Cloquet, MN Aerial Mainlines 283 Northfield, MN Buried Mainlines 148 Nearly to Ashland, WI Total Fiber Constructed 620 Omaha, NE.

Despite the relentless ledge rock in our beautiful area that repeatedly surprised and frustrated construction workers, we have installed 2079 Network Interface Devices (NIDs) –those snazzy gray plastic boxes attached to the side of your home. So what’s left to do? Mainline construction is almost done. We need just 16 more miles of aerial fiber and 10 miles of fiber buried to get us to the end of the mainline route at the Canadian border. Many homes still await their drop, what the fiber from the mainline to the building is called, and installation of a NID.

Home installation scheduling may overlap with the final construction season, so watch your mailbox or our website for further instructions when the time to sign up for service in your area finally arrives. As always, Arrowhead Cooperative appreciates all the enthusiasm and excitement for the project and we struggle just as much as our members to wait patiently for the completion of this massive and complicated project.

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

About Ann Treacy

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s