Southwest Minnesota building “Gigabit Communities”

The Worthington Daily Globe reports on great broadband in some communities in Southwest Minnesota…

As a general rule, internet bandwidth usage increases by about 50 percent every year. This isn’t any different in southwest Minnesota, where DSL has struggled to provide speeds that can keep up with the ever-increasing demand.

To meet expectations, on May 15, Southwest Minnesota Broadband Services (SMBS) will offer 1 gigabit internet speeds to customers in their service area, which includes Jackson, Lakefield, Round Lake, Bingham Lake, Brewster, Wilder, Heron Lake and Okabena.

“Over the past few years, we’ve just seen the demand increase — as technology has advanced, the demand for more bandwidth comes right with it,” SMBS General Manager Travis Thies said. “So, over the past five to six years, we have basically been upgrading our backbone to sustain those types of speeds.”

The connection is fast and has redundancy…

Theis said the fiber route is unique in that it’s redundant — meaning it has extra safeguards to prevent it from failing.

“We’ve got a fiber main that comes in one end of a town and comes out the other end — think of it as a big ring — and all of the cities fall into place along that ring,” Thies said. “So if there’s ever a rural fiber that is damaged, with that redundancy, that keeps us from having an outage in an entire town, we’ve got the ability for all of our data to flow the other way around the ring until the network is restored.”

In addition to building out cities along the fiber ring, houses and businesses on the route have access to the broadband service. The service doesn’t veer far off of the route, as extending fiber out to individual households generally isn’t economically viable for the provider.

Their last comment illustrates the need for continued public funding. It is shortsighted to leave costly upgrades to the provider when whole communities thrive on better broadband.

This entry was posted in FTTH, MN 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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