The Blandin foundation is working with the IRRRB to select four communities in the IRRRB area to focus on improving broadband.
According to the Ely Echo, Ely is striving to be one of those four…
Numerous area entities, ranging from the Ely School District and Morse Township to Vermilion Community College, have endorsed Ely’s efforts to become one of a handful of regional communities to obtain Blandin funding.
Fedo talked of a set-up in which the city of Ely could take the lead, perhaps in accord with a private partner who could use the city utility and provide the service.
It’s a proactive approach, said Fedo, “rather than waiting for somebody to propose a solution on our behalf.”
Fedo indicated a successful application could lead to “some sort of providing service within the downtown corridor” within six-to-12 months.
Mayor Chuck Novak strongly endorsed the effort, noting his own involvement in various efforts to bring broadband to Ely, including a fiber-to-the-premise initiative that was squelched several years ago after other participating communities dropped out.
“I actually have some hope now,” said Novak.
It’s interesting to hear the strong and widespread desire for the community to “take the lead” in their broadband future. They seem interested in a private partner but that idea of being part of the decision-making is strong.