Red River Communications speaks up for rural communities with good broadband

The Wahpeton Daily News recently posted a letter to the editor from Red River Communications as a reaction to someone assuming that all rural areas are bereft of good broadband. The letter details Red River’s network…

Reliable access to high-speed, broadband Internet is no doubt a huge driver for economic development and quality of life. It’s why we are continually reinvesting in the network we’ve built. In 2017, we completed a 12-year project that provided fiber-to-the-home to over 1,500 square miles of southeast North Dakota and west central Minnesota. Our efforts have been recognized regionally and on the national stage by US Senators and Representatives, the FCC, industry groups, and our peers.

The communities we serve in Richland County were awarded the status of “Smart Rural Communities” by NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association. Our entire fiber network earned Red River Communications the designation of being a “Gig Capable Certified Provider,” meaning every single one of our members on our fiber network in Richland and Wilkin counties can receive true gigabit Internet speeds.

The network we’ve built with other small communications providers across North Dakota and Minnesota is literally the envy of the nation in terms of connectivity and the speeds offered. The Internet speeds often far exceed what is available in major metropolitan areas. US News recently ranked North Dakota number 2 overall in the nation for Internet connectivity. Minnesota was ranked number 7.

And the problem with assuming the worst…

To suggest without inquiring with the local providers that many area residents don’t have access to quality high-speed Internet is misleading and damaging to economic development prospects in the Southern Valley. While it is true that there are areas of the country that lack adequate broadband access, that is simply not the case here. It appears local economic development leaders are buying into the narrative of national advocacy groups like Connect Americans Now without truly understanding the tremendous broadband opportunities in their own backyard.

What message does it send to business leaders, investors, and developers when they see local economic leaders bemoaning a perceived lack of Internet connectivity? We need to promote the advantages we have in our area and not highlight shortcomings that don’t exist.

This entry was posted in Cooperatives, MN, Rural 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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