CenturyLink upgrades broadband services around Pipestone County MN

Pipestone Star reports…

CenturyLink has been installing fiber-optic cable around the city of Pipestone as part of a broadband upgrade that includes the installation of 25 fiber nodes throughout the community.

Some of those nodes have already been turned up.

The company currently offers DSL internet service with maximum advertised speed of 40 megabits per second (Mbps) downloading, and 2 Mbps uploading.

With the upgrades, fiber-optic service will be offered at 100 Mbps downloading, 10 Mbps uploading. State statutory goals are that all Minnesota businesses and homes will have access to high-speed broadband that provides minimum download speeds of at least 25 Mbps and minimum upload speeds of at least 3 Mbps by 2022. No later than 2026, those speeds increase to 100 Mbps downloading and 20 Mbps uploading.

CenturyLink is advertising prices of $49 per month for up to 100 Mbps. The fiber-optic speeds are believed to extend about a mile from a node, with lower speeds beyond that up to 2.5 miles.

They report that speeds are different throughout the county…

All of these options are available in varying degrees throughout Pipestone County. The fastest of these is fiber-optic but it’s also the most expensive to install. Woodstock Communications recently completed a fiber-optic upgrade that offers speeds in parts of Pipestone County of 1,000 Mbps up and down (or 1 gigabit per second up and down).

Companies like Woodstock Communications and CenturyLink have used the state’s Border-to-Border Broadband Grant program to help build broadband infrastructure into unserved and underserved areas of the state, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. In this year’s 2019 legislative session, $20 million was appropriated for each of the next two years and is accessed by companies through competitive grant rounds that provide up to 50 percent of a project’s infrastructure costs to a maximum of $5 million.


RS Fiber gets an international shout out for publicly supported broadband

Open Democracy is taking a look at the UK’s proposed takes on broadband…

T his week, the Labour Party announced a bold new policy proposal that has shaken up the election race – publicly owned broadband internet, free to all. In the words of Jeremy Corbyn, the party’s leader, it is “a taster of the kind of fresh, transformational policies that will change your life.”

Under the plan, the government would purchase Openreach, the digital network operator that is a subsidiary of BT Group, and form a new publicly owned British Broadband company to extend high-speed internet access to every household, business, and institution in the country.

They look at what’s happening in other places…

However, in reality, governments around the world are taking the lead on developing the digital infrastructure necessary to develop thriving 21st century economies (just as they did with the electricity networks, roads, bridges, railroads, airports, and other vital economic infrastructure of the 20th century). They are doing so because in many cases the private sector, and specifically a shrinking group of giant for-profit telecommunications corporations, are unable and unwilling to equitably provide the necessary investment and service – leaving whole towns, regions, and socio-economic groups shut out of the modern economy and society.

Their examples include Minnesota’s RS Fiber…

Success stories include larger cities like Chattanooga, Tennessee (which was the first location in the US to offer 1Gbps service) where the publicly owned network added around $1 billion to the local economy in just 4 years; smaller towns such as Thomasville, Georgia, where the publicly owned network is credited with saving small businesses and maintaining a vibrant downtown area; and rural areas like south central Minnesota where RS Fiber (a cooperative supported by a joint powers agreement between 10 small cities and 17 townships) has extended broadband access to 6,200 homes, farms, and businesses across a wide geographic area.

Publicly owned broadband is not only increasingly popular in the United States, it also has demonstrated economic and social benefits.

Mediacom hits 50,000 Gigabit Broadband Customer Milestone

Big news from Mediacom

Mediacom Communications announced today the company now has more than 50,000 combined residential and business customers subscribing to its 1-Gig internet (1,000 megabits per second) service offerings. In 2017, Mediacom began systematically launching gigabit internet services as part of an aggressive 3-year, $1 billion capital investment strategy. By the end of that same year, Mediacom had become the first major U.S. cable company to launch 1-Gig internet across its national network. “The growing popularity of gigabit internet in our markets is proof positive that our fiber-rich network has become a true economic and social engine for the small cities and towns we serve across America,” said John Pascarelli, Mediacom’s Executive Vice President of Operations. “Whether Mediacom’s network is incubating tech start-ups, supporting tele-medicine initiatives, connecting growing businesses to the global marketplace or providing senior citizens with the tools to continue living comfortably in their own homes, we are proud that our private investments have become a catalyst for public good.” Earlier this year, Mediacom joined with NCTA – The Internet & Television Association, CableLabs and other industry partners in announcing plans to expand beyond the current gigabit offerings to a more powerful 10G technology platform. The next great advancement in broadband, 10G will combine greater capacity and lower latency with symmetrical 10 gigabit per second speeds. With field trials planned for 2020, Mediacom is positioned to once again be at the forefront of the next internet speed revolution. “Our rapid deployment of 1-Gig internet demonstrated Mediacom’s ability to deliver ultra-fast speeds in the communities we serve more quickly and economically than other providers,” continued Pascarelli. “The scalability of our fiber-rich network is perfectly situated to harness the incredible power and promise of 10G.” “Mediacom’s success in deploying gigabit service across its footprint in both urban and rural communities demonstrates the cable industry’s leadership in making America a leader in today’s global digital economy,” said Michael Powell, President & CEO, NCTA – The Internet & Television Association. “As we push ahead with the industry’s 10G vision, we already have a foundational network in place with the scalability and power to meet America’s internet demand well into the future.”

Gigabit service now offered in St. Joseph (Stearns County)

The News Leaders reports…

A significant speed upgrade to Midco’s St. Joseph service announced Oct. 8 will mean faster, more reliable internet for residents and businesses. Higher-speed service will spur innovation, economic development and education, company leaders said.

Midco announced a $2.1 million technology and facility investment that opens the way for the gigabit internet service.

The new technology provides up to 35 times faster than average internet service, according to the company.

From Midco’s St. Joseph facility, the gigabit service branches out to 15 other Central Minnesota cities.

Finding ways to provide high-speed internet for small cities and rural areas is a big issue for government and the event attracted a number of local, state and national officials.

St. Joseph Mayor Rick Shultz said the faster service should help the city attract start-up, high-tech businesses as well as residents who need fast, reliable internet to work from home.

Rep. Tom Emmer, a member of the House of Representatives Rural Broadband Caucus, said that high-speed internet is a key infrastructure investment that will allow people to continue to live outside of big cities but still access to jobs and services.

Includes the following areas…

The other Central Minnesota cities branching off from the St. Joseph equipment are: Annandale, Avon, Becker, Clear Lake, Clearwater, Cold Spring, Foley, Holdingford, Pierz, Richmond, Rockville, Royalton, St. Augusta, St. Stephen and Waite Park.

Paul Bunyan annoucces The GigaZone Comes to Big Falls (Koochiching County)

Big news for Big Falls…

The GigaZone has come to Big Falls! As a result of continued upgrades to the cooperative’s all-fiber optic network, members in Big Falls now have access to GigaZone services including Internet speeds up to a Gigabit per second.

“We continue to make great progress on upgrading our network to incorporate even more members into the GigaZone. I’m very proud of all the hard work our cooperative has put in so far as we put our membership and region at the forefront of the very latest in communication networks.” said Gary Johnson, Paul Bunyan Communications CEO/General Manager.

The GigaZone is currently available to over 35,500 locations, making it one of the largest rural all-fiber optic networks in the United States! Check out our online map http://paulbunyan.net/gigazone/map/ showing the current areas of the GigaZone as well as those that will be constructed/upgraded in the future.

GigaZone service options include unprecedented Broadband Internet speeds of up to 1000 Mbps – a Gigabit. Members who subscribe to GigaZone Broadband can also add PBTV Fusion and/or low cost unlimited long distance service. All current service options also remain available to cooperative members within the GigaZone.

Many current wireless routers cannot support blazing GigaZone Internet speeds.  To help, the cooperative is offering GigaZone Integrated Wi-Fi that uses the latest in advanced Wi-Fi technologies to maximize the in-home wireless experience. This service is free to all new GigaZone customers for the first six months, with a minimal charge thereafter.

Paul Bunyan Communications recently mailed out information to the new locations that are now in the GigaZone and the cooperative has an online map available at http://paulbunyan.net/gigazone/map/ showing the active areas of the GigaZone as well as those areas that will be constructed/upgraded in the future.

“If you are wondering when the GigaZone will reach you, the online map of the active areas and plans for this year is a great resource.” added Brian Bissonette, Paul Bunyan Communications Marketing Supervisor.

Paul Bunyan Communications has the region’s largest and fastest all fiber optic network with over 5,500 square miles throughout most of Beltrami County and portions of Cass, Hubbard, Itasca, Koochiching, and St. Louis Counties. The Cooperative provides Broadband High Speed Internet Services including the GigaZone, digital and high definition television services, digital voice services, Residential and Business IT services, and is also northern Minnesota’s certified Apple Service Center.

Prairie Island Indian Community now enjoys Gig access through HBC

HBC reports

Members of the Prairie Island Indian Community now have access to the fasted Internet service available with the completion of a new Fiber-To-The-Home (FTTH) network constructed by Hiawatha Broadband Communications (HBC) of Winona, MN.

According to HBC President Dan Pecarina, every residence now has access to symmetrical Gigabit (1,000 megabits) broadband. He said that having access to that level of high-speed broadband will be life-changing for the community members.

“Having access to symmetrical Gigabit Internet will enhance the lives of the residents of the Prairie Island community exponentially by allowing an array of advantages. These super-fast speeds will have a dramatic impact on everything from economic development and education, to the delivery of healthcare, and other community services.”

The struggle for broadband connectivity is real for rural America, but even more so in rural Indian communities. According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about 8 percent of Americans, an estimated 24 million people, still have no access to in-home high-speed internet service. That percentage is even higher for rural Indian communities. According to an FCC report, roughly 35 percent of Americans living in tribal lands lack access to any broadband services.

The burden of bringing high-speed broadband to rural areas has fallen on smaller providers, like HBC. Large broadband companies prefer densely populated areas where their return on investment is greater. The HBC high-speed broadband network provides Internet, Video, and Phone services to over 30 rural communities in Minnesota and west-central Wisconsin.

But bringing the high-speed network to the tribal community required communication, coordination, special permitting, and a little patience.

“HBC has been working with tribal leaders for the past few years to build a network to serve the community,” Pecarina explained. “The process to build on tribal land was fairly lengthy and, at times, frustrating. While there were significant delays due to the federal government approval process, once the project received the necessary approvals, things came together rather quickly.”

Construction on the Prairie Island FTTH network began in June with the first community member homes being connected to the network in September.

This is the third fiber-optic network project that HBC has brought to the Prairie Island. In 2017, HBC worked with Dakota County and Dakota Electric Association to build a fiber optic connection to the Prairie Island area for County and Electric Association purposes. HBC turned their portion of the fiber build into fiber to the home service along the route and to install High Density WiFi Technology at the Treasure Island Resort, Pow Wow grounds, and the Casino’s outdoor amphitheater. HBC also offers Video service to Treasure Island Resort properties along with a variety of additional data services.

“This is a prime example of what public, private, and co-operative entities can accomplish when they work together.” Pecarina stated. “The Prairie Island Tribal Council’s broadband vision and the cooperative work with HBC to build this network for its community, is proof that fiber based broadband services can reach even some of the most remote areas.”