Strut Your Stuff Tour in Mountain Iron: Building townships websites, feasibility study and computers

We had an opportunity to visit with Mountain Iron today to hear about their broadband projects. They are part of the Iron Range Broadband Communities project (IRBC). Here are the notes on the projects that they have been working on and will be continuing to work on in the upcoming months…

Local Government Websites

  • Great Scott and Kinney townships are an opportunity to build websites. Great Scott Township is working on a draft website.

PCs for People – we have had two requests for PCs from local families.

  • Buhl Senior Center might be a good place for PCs. They currently get fixed wireless through Access. They are hoping for computers.
  • Some areas are limited because they don’t have broadband access and are unlikely to get access soon.
  • Schools might do training locally and use PCs as a draw to attend tech training and give computers to senior centers. Or maybe give computers to the Seniors directly.
  • Maybe look at giving out computers in late September

Costs to bring NESC fiber (through a provider) to various community locations:

  • Buhl Fire Hall $11,400 – they are probably hooked up with Access but would like computers to do some training
  • Buhl Senior Center $11,3000
  • Cornerstone $26,600
  • YMCA $5,800
  • Mountain Iron Senior Center $8,5000
  • Mountain Iron Library $280
  • Kinney (guestimate is $30,000 are requires state permit to pass 169) Kinney wants a community center.

Oct 31 is the unofficial stop construction date in the area – due to frozen ground.

Wifi on School buses

  • Apparently someone has talked to other schools districts (Chisholm) but they no longer work at the school. So it’s a matter of picking up the pieces and reassembling.
  • NESC does help with cooperative bidding for school, city agencies… So that might be helpful with various projects. (SO instead of going directly through CDW you can get s discount through NESC.)

Feasibility Study

  • They are working on a feasibility study and it’s going well.
  • They will be looking at which students can’t get access at home – due to lack of service and/or computer.
  • Done a preliminary draft out based on costs per household using mapping of what already exists and what is the condition of area (stone version farmland)
  • Working on three school districts south of 169 – based on where fiber exists and where the need is greatest (unserved areas with population density) to maximize impact
  • Trying to leverage NESC infrastructure – even inviting provider collocation
  • Difficulty of entering some areas is the $30,000 a mile build out where fiber currently isn’t.
  • Trying to build a god foundation upon which to build.
  • The feasibility study is two part – one focused on a Border to Border grant application for 2017 – and a broader look at the whole area.
  • We are looking at fiber to the home because we haven’t had a great interest with local providers.
This entry was posted in bbc, MN by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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