Living in Bigelow – means driving to town to do your online homework

Brad Meester, former Mayor of Bigelow, Minnesota in Nobles County is frustrated because he thought that he would see broadband improvements when he heard that Lismore Telephone received almost $3 million to improve broadband in Nobles County. Unfortunately his town (Bigelow) was removed from the because of a challenge from the incumbent provider. They were concerned that if they didn’t remove Bigelow, the entire proposal could have been put on hold until the next potential grant round to see if Frontier met their obligation.

Here is Brad’s experience with broadband in his town…

Recently my daughter was uploading information from her ipad for school work.  My wife was helping her at home in Bigelow.  The ipad sat for three hours and never did get the upload completed.  My wife called her friend in Worthington who allowed her to bring her ipad to town, and uploaded in minutes.

Our City office, where I worked previously as Mayor, has terrible time using internet.  They are currently in the process of looking into different technology options which would be even slightly better than Frontier’s, with consideration to more cost and somewhat limited data capacities, however, feel it is of benefit to consider.

Brad has spoken with the current provider. It sounds like a representative from the provider used to occasionally attend community meetings on broadband (with the County NEON group) but has stopped coming.

Nobles County is celebrating. Bigelow is not. The challenger has 18 months to upgrade service in his area to 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up. If they don’t comply, they will be disqualified for challenging other projects for 2 rounds of grants.

Talking to folks in Nobles County is sounds like Lismore chose not to enter other areas because they were concerned that their proposals would be challenged. Early on in the application process they chose to stay out of Adrian, Ellsworth and Rushmore because those towns have a few cases where the provider can maintain the 25/3 service.

This entry was posted in MN, MN Broadband Fund Awards 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.

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