The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports…
Just off the main drag in the North Woods town of Ely, often described as the “end of the road,” a side door to a brick building offers locals and visitors a little haven of modern technology.
The new Ten Below Coworking space — a basement office with desk seats for a dozen people — boasts the city’s first fiber-optic broadband-connection available to the public.
The city and the nonprofit group Incredible Ely used a $15,000 grant from the Blandin Foundation to create the open floor plan office as well as a couple of meeting rooms in the Klun Law Firm building. The money was used to furnish the space and should be enough to keep the lights on and the internet working for a year, officials said.
The coworking space is just a first step…
Ely Mayor Chuck Novak said he’s enthused about the energetic people who are working to make the space viable, including advertising it so people are aware of it. It’s part of a larger plan to bring internet fiber to the rest of downtown and get high-speed internet out to the entire school district, in some places using wireless access points, Novak said.
“We’re tired of legislators at the state and federal level always talking about broadband and not providing a sufficient amount of support for it. … It’s one of the most important things for economic development in greater Minnesota,” Novak said. “We’re going to have to take care of this ourselves. … We’re going to start getting creative here. We will find a way.”
The space in Ely will serve as a pilot project for getting local people exposed to working with truly high speed internet, officials said.