The GigaZone Comes to Laporte, Becida, and Solway

Good news…gigazone

 

 

The GigaZone Comes to Laporte, Becida, and Solway

One of the largest rural all-fiber optic Gigabit networks in the United States continues to grow;

Now available to more than 27,000 locations in northern Minnesota

 

(Bemidji, MN) (December 5, 2016) – Paul Bunyan Communications has announced that for the first time, the GigaZone has come to Laporte, Becida, and Solway along with additional areas of Bemidji. As a result of continued upgrades to the Cooperative’s all-fiber optic communications network over 3,100 more locations 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 and over the next several months we’ll be activating the GigaZone in even more areas.  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.  We will continue to do as much as we can to bring the GigaZone to all our members and the communities we serve as fast as we can.” said Gary Johnson, Paul Bunyan Communications CEO/General Manager.

 

The GigaZone is currently available to over 27,000 locations including all of the cooperative’s service area of rural Park Rapids, Lake George, Trout Lake Township east of Grand Rapids, LaPrairie, most of Grand Rapids, Red Lake, Cohasset, Ponemah, Turtle River, Laporte, Tenstrike, Little Rock, Becida, Redby, Puposky, Solway, and areas of Bemidji.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Most 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 has the region’s largest and fastest all fiber optic network with over 5,000 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 Service up to a Gigabit per second, digital and high definition television services, Smart Home services, digital voice services, and more.   Service availability depends upon location, some restrictions may apply.

A-CAM 101: federal funding for smaller broadband providers

Sometimes you just need a practitioner to give the 10,000 foot view of what’s going on when policy and technology combine. I’m thankful to Brent Christensen (from MTA) for his time today giving me the low down on A-CAM.

I’ve talked a lot about CAF 2 funding from the FCC – $85 million a year for 6 years going to Price Cap Carriers (big guys such as CenturyLink, Frontier and Windstream ).

For Rate of Return providers (mostly smaller providers, often in rural areas) the FCC has come up with another plan. Providers can choose to reduce their rate of return OR apply for A-CAM funding:

  • Reduce the rate of return means going from 10.25 percent to 9.75 percent over the next few years.
  • The A-CAM option is available for providers where less than 90 percent of their service can access broadband at 10 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up and/or receive less than $200 per loop. A-CAM funding is for 10 years.

For most folks it’s a numbers game – can you make more by applying for A-CAM funding or going with strict cut in rate? For some folks, it’s a stability issue. They’ll take a reduction in support for the certainty over 10 years.

The deadline to apply for A-CAM funding was November 1, 2016. They received $160 million more than they had budgeted; they had budgeted for just over $1 billion. So, the FCC is trying again with a round two of applications. In fact that application should be available soon. The providers will have 30 days to respond. The FCC is hoping to be done with the process by the end of the year – in part I’m sure due to political changes.

So many questions still remain.

Why are they funding 10/1 access when they define broadband as 25/3? The reason is to help the folks who have no service. But this stuff is difficult for community leaders, policy makers and really anyone outside the industry to understand without using multiple speed definitions for broadband (10/1 vs 25/3).

Why the continuation of uncertainty? We’re asking providers to continue to make long term investment – albeit with government support. But the uncertainty can be as difficult as the financial pinch.

The biggest question – what will be the impact of political change on this and other broadband funding and regulation?

New network providers may mean easier access to dark fiber in Southern MN

According to a press release (posted in Financial News)…

neutral-pathHurricane Electric, an IPv6-native Internet backbone, is collaborating with high-capacity communications transport service provider Neutral Path Communications to establish a new Point of Presence (PoP) within Neutral Path´s MSP1 facility, the company said.

The carrier-neutral MSP1 facility provides customers with direct access to Neutral Path Communications´ dark fiber backbone and additional fiber interconnects to a variety of providers.

The company´s underground backbone network spans over 1,300 route miles and over 110,000 fiber miles throughout the heart of the Midwest between key aggregation points in Denver, Omaha and Minneapolis. With the establishment of this latest PoP, Hurricane Electric is now one of ten additional Internet suppliers at this location.

According to their map (right) they are in Rochester, Minneapolis, Mankato Belle Plaine, LaSalle and Windom.

A press release from Neutral Path explains some of the benefits to local providers or providers with a local presence in terms of peering…

 

 

Economic Impact of Rural Telecommunications Industry in Minnesota? $900+ million

Last April I wrote about the Hudson Report on the Economic Impact of Rural Broadband Industry. But back then I only had the executive summary – not the full report. Recently I got the full report with details specific to Minnesota.

The report quantifies the impact rural telecom industry has on the economy nationally…

Rural broadband companies contributed $24.1 billion to the economies of the states in which they operated in 2015.  Of this, $17.2 billion was through their own operations and $6.9 billion was through the follow-on impact of their operations.  The total represents the amount added to the Gross Domestic Product by this set of firms.

And in Minnesota (in 2015)…

  • Direct Impact – $659.4 million
    Additional Impact – $251.8
      million
    Total Impact – $911.3 million
  • Number of Jobs –  2,527
  • How much went into rural economies? $279.1 million
    How much went into urban economies? $632.2 million

They also report on Regional Input-Output Modeling System indicating that in Minnesota and the Rural Broadband industry:

  • Output is: 1.3819
  • Earnings is: 0.2373
  • Employment is: 4.7036

These numbers attempt to estimate how much a one-time or sustained increase in economic activity (such as State grants, CAF money, other inputs) will be supplied by industries located in the region.

I think it’s worth noting that investment in rural broadband does not benefit only rural economies. In fact, the urban economy gets the greatest boost. And investment yields output, earnings and employment.

It makes the case for public-private funding. The state benefits when jobs increase and funding is spent in other industries to support telecom and telecom companies benefit with added earnings.

Red Lake Nation one of first reservations to get a Gig – thanks to Paul Bunyan

Good news for Paul Bunyan Communication – great news for Red Lake, Redby, Little Rock, and Pgigazoneonemah…

The GigaZone Comes to Red Lake, Redby, Little Rock, and Ponemah
Red Lake Nation one of the first reservations in the U.S. to gain access to all-fiber optic Gigabit Internet (Bemidji, MN) (November 14, 2016) – The Red Lake Nation is one of the first Indian Reservations in the country to have access to gigabit Internet speeds over an all-fiber optic network, Paul Bunyan Communications announced today.  Thanks to recent upgrades to the cooperative’s all-fiber optic communications network, more than 2,000 locations across the reservation including Red Lake, Redby, Little Rock, Ponemah and surrounding areas now have access to GigaZone services including Internet speeds up to one gigabit per second.

“This is exciting news for the Red Lake Nation and our tribal members! Having access to fiber Internet services is vital to our rural economy and impacts so many aspects of life.  To start a new business, find a good job, or get a high quality education you need a quality high-speed Internet connection. The GigaZone is on the cutting edge of technology and enhances the Red Lake Nation’s unique assets, including a large workforce and the Red Lake Nation College, for economic development and business expansion. We’re excited about the positive impact this will have on our Tribe now and well into the future,” said Darrell Seki, Sr., Red Lake Tribal Chairman.

“It’s a big day for our cooperative and the Red Lake Nation.  We’ve always been committed to offering our region the best possible communication services.  When we were formed 65 years ago, that meant providing telephone services in areas no other provider would serve.  Today it means delivering advanced data capabilities and Internet services to our members which are unsurpassed by any region or any other provider in the country – regardless of size or location.  The GigaZone will not only provide the capacity to handle current communication technologies quickly and efficiently, it will also meet the increasing demands of the next generation of innovations,” said Gary Johnson, Paul Bunyan Communications CEO/General Manager.

Paul Bunyan Communications’ GigaZone is currently available to more than 23,900 locations across north-central Minnesota and continues to expand, making it one of the largest gigabit fiber networks in the country.

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.

GigaZone service options include unprecedented fiber optic Internet speeds of up to 1000 Mbps – a Gigabit.  Members who subscribe to GigaZone Internet can also add PBTV Fusion digital television service and/or low cost unlimited long distance service and a variety of other services offered by the cooperative.

Most 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 has the region’s largest and fastest all fiber optic network with over 5,000 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 Service up to a Gigabit per second, digital and high definition television services, Smart Home services, digital voice services, and more.   Service availability depends upon location, some restrictions may apply.

CTC primed to start managing Lake Connections Broadband

Looks like there are changes in the works for Lake Connections (the ARRA-recipient broadband provider in Lake County). According to the Lake County News Chronicle

The Lake County Board unanimously approved a resolution to continue negotiations with Consolidated Telecommunications Co. (CTC) to take over operations and management of the county’s broadband project, Lake Connections.

This action signals the breakdown of contract talks with the Lake Communications Inc., the current management firm. The board was supposed to approve a new contract with LCI during a special meeting last week in Two Harbors but did not take action even though the current contract expired Nov. 1.

The resolution approved by the board said the county’s negotiating committee, which included commissioners Jeremy Hurd and Rick Goutermont as well as county administrator Matt Huddleston, could not come to an “acceptable agreement” with LCI and was able to reach a “tentative agreement on major terms of a new operations and management agreement” with CTC.

Added at 6:00 on Nov 10 – a press release from CTC…

CTC Signs Management Agreement with Lake County

Brainerd, MN – November 7, 2016 Consolidated Telecommunications Company (CTC) announced a partnership with Lake County for the management of Lake Connections.

CTC who operates their own fiber optic network in the Brainerd Lakes Area has also worked with other rural telecommunication companies with the management and implementation of their networks.

“Lake Connections has a great network which offers so much value to the businesses and residents in the community. We look forward to working with Lake Connections on expanding their network and services. As a rural provider for 66 years, we have expansive knowledge and experience on our team and we feel we’re a great compliment to Lake Connections and their employees,” Stated Kevin Larson, CEO/General Manager of CTC.

“Our main objective is to get as many customers hooked up to fiber optics as quick as we can” states Joe Buttweiler, Partnership Development Manager at CTC. “We feel getting customers connected to High Speed Internet in the area is a priority for us.”

CTC will work with Lake Connections on Sales, Marketing, Accounting, Technical and Operations Management of the company.

Consolidated Telecommunications Company is a full-service telecommunications cooperative based in Brainerd, MN.  Formed in 1952, CTC has grown into a complete communications provider offering telephone, high speed Internet, long distance, and digital television.  In addition, the company also offers business IP phone solutions and complete IT services throughout Minnesota.

###

CTC to Deliver High Speed Internet to Long Prairie

Good news for Long Prairie and a nice update from CTC…

Consolidated Telecommunications Company (CTC) recently reached an agreement with the City of Long Prairie to construct a fiber optic network to businesses and homes in the area, which will deliver Internet speeds up to 1Gbps (1,000 Mbps).

“We’re really excited about this opportunity” states Joe Buttweiler of CTC. “CTC has a long history of building fiber optic networks to rural communities in need of High Speed Internet services. Not only will residents and businesses benefit from the service, it will also help drive economic development in the area.”

CTC will begin construction spring of 2017, with many homes and businesses getting hooked up with service by the end of the year. The City of Long Prairie will bond to finance the network, with CTC leasing the network from the City.

In addition to offering High Speed Internet, CTC will also be offering residents phone services and business phone services including hosted phone systems and special access circuits.

Consolidated Telecommunications Company is a full-service telecommunications Cooperative based in Brainerd, MN.  Formed in 1952, CTC has grown into a complete communications provider offering telephone, high speed Internet, long distance, and digital television.  In addition, the company also offers business IP phone solutions and complete IT services throughout Minnesota.

###