MiEnergy Cooperative hosts legislative discuss in Rushford on topics including broadband

Bluff Country News reports…

MiEnergy Cooperative hosted two field hearings in Rushford on Oct. 3 as part of the Minnesota House of Representatives three-day mini session in southeastern Minnesota.

The cooperative provided testimony on disaster relief and broadband funding for the Greater Minnesota Jobs and Economic Development Hearing. The group of nine representatives also heard testimony from the co-op on energy policy and initiatives for the Energy and Climate Finance and Policy Hearing.

Here’s what they discussed in regard to broadband…

Legislators also heard testimony on what led to the creation of MiBroadband, which was formed by three cooperatives (Mabel Cooperative Telephone Company, MiEnergy and Spring Grove Communications) looking to serve high-speed internet needs of those living in unserved and underserved areas of southeastern Minnesota and northeastern Iowa. Vassil Vutov, MiEnergy’s vice president of information technology, explained how the co-op built a network backbone with a combination of fiber and wireless technology to connect its Rushford and Cresco offices. As the electric industry evolves, communicating via broadband to its 43 substations in Iowa and Minnesota is a necessity for MiEnergy, he said. This combination of fiber and wireless technology, known as fixed wireless broadband, is the solution for the electric co-op’s needs and the ample amount of expandability is how the joint effort with MiBroadband can help make reliable, high-speed internet service a reality for residents living in rural areas.

MiEnergy has wireless towers currently in Cresco, Rushford, Peterson and Fountain. As MiEnergy expands its communications technology to all substations, MiBroadband service can be offered in those areas. MiBroadband CEO Jill Fishbaugher noted its Minnesota Border-to-Border grant application request of $2.2 million of a $5 million project that would bring broadband to 12 townships in Fillmore County and three townships in Mower County. It would add 417 fiber passings and over 1,000 wireless passings.

This entry was posted in Conferences, MN, Policy, Vendors 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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