CTC gets $3 million from ReConnect

We’ve already recognized and celebrated the investment, but the official word is out

The Trump Administration today announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $3 million to provide broadband service in unserved and underserved rural areas in Minnesota. This investment is part of the $550 million Congress allocated to the second round of the ReConnect Program.

“The need for rural broadband has never been more apparent than it is now – as our nation manages the coronavirus national emergency. Access to telehealth services, remote learning for school children, and remote business operations all require access to broadband,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said. “I am so proud of our rural communities who have been working day in and day out, just like they always do, producing the food and fiber America depends on. We need them more than ever during these trying times, and expanding access to this critical infrastructure will help ensure rural America prospers for years to come.”

Consolidated Telephone Company will use a $3 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network, which will connect 819 people, 34 businesses and 25 farms to high-speed broadband internet in Morrison County, Minnesota.

New FirstNet Cell Site in Northern Minnesota to be Among the First Primarily Powered by Solar in Midwest Region (St Louis County)

Big news from AT&T…

First responders in Northern Minnesota will soon be getting a major boost in their wireless communications with construction underway of a new, purpose-built FirstNet cell site – one of the first primarily powered by solar in the Midwest.

The site – located on the Echo Trail north of Ely near Orr, Minnesota – is part of the FirstNet network expansion taking place across the state, bringing increased coverage, capacity and capabilities for public safety. The remote site was identified by state and public safety stakeholders as a priority location for increased network coverage and capacity to better support emergency communications.

“Minnesota’s first responders deserve reliable coverage across the state to help them effectively and efficiently address incidents. And with FirstNet, that’s exactly what they’re getting,” said Paul, Weirtz, president, AT&T Minnesota. “We couldn’t be more pleased to support the public safety mission and bring the state’s first responders – and residents – greater access to the connectivity they need. Working with public safety, we’ve made FirstNet nimble, adaptable and ready to scale for even the most severe situations as we’re seeing currently with COVID-19.”

FirstNet is the only nationwide, high-speed broadband communications platform dedicated to and purpose-built for America’s first responders and the extended public safety community. It’s built with AT&T* in a public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) – an independent agency within the federal government.

That’s why AT&T has a responsibility unlike any other network provider. And unlike commercial networks, FirstNet provides real, dedicated mobile broadband when needed with always-on priority and preemption for first responders. This helps ensure Minnesota first responders connect to the critical information they need – every day and in every emergency. Plus, it’s giving first responders unthrottled access to the nation’s fastest overall network experience.1

Building upon AT&T’s current and planned investments in Minnesota, we’re actively extending the reach of FirstNet to give agencies large and small the reliable, unthrottled connectivity and modern communications tools they need. Currently well ahead of schedule, the FirstNet build has already brought Minnesota first responders:

  • Purpose-built network enhancements New FirstNet cell sites in Minnesota – located in Zerkel and Graceville – have also launched. These sites were identified by state and public safety stakeholders as priority locations. With FirstNet, it’s about where first responders need connectivity. That’s what is driving our FirstNet build. These sites were constructed using Band 14 spectrum, as well as AT&T commercial spectrum. Band 14 is nationwide, high quality spectrum set aside by the government specifically for FirstNet. Band 14 has also been added on more than 300 existing sites across Minnesota, including markets such as the Twin Cities, Duluth, Rochester, the Iron Range, St. Cloud and the Baxter/Brainerd area.
  • Reaching Rural Minnesota – FirstNet is built for all public safety. That means every first responder in the country – career or volunteer; federal, tribal, state or local; urban, suburban or rural. That’s why connecting remote parts of America is one of our top priorities. We’re collaborating with rural network providers to help build out additional LTE coverage and extend FirstNet’s reach in rural and tribal communities.
  • Public safety-specific advanced capabilities – FirstNet is the only nationwide platform that gives first responders entire communication ecosystem of unique benefits including mission-centric devices, certified applications and always-on, 24-hours-a-day priority and preemption across voice and data. This is like giving public safety communications the “lights and sirens” treatment so that they stay connected, no matter the emergency.
  • Unparalleled emergency support – Minnesota agencies on FirstNet also have 24/7 access to a nationwide fleet of 76 land-based and airborne deployable network assets. These portable cell sites can either be deployed for planned events or in emergencies at no additional charge. FirstNet Response Operations – led by a group of former first responders – guides the deployment of the FirstNet deployable assets based on the needs of public safety.
  • Free smartphones for life for public safety agencies – We’ve also expanded the benefits of FirstNet for Minnesota agencies – spanning law enforcement, fire, EMS, healthcare, hospital emergency departments, emergency management and 9-1-1 operations. Now, they can stay up-to-date with free smartphones for life at no additional cost on their FirstNet Mobile—Unlimited plans.2 This means first responders across agencies of all sizes will have affordable access to their network for decades to come.

The COVID-19 health crisis illustrates precisely why public safety fought for the creation of FirstNet. Where public safety goes, we go. We’ve answered the call for tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, floods and other natural disasters. But with COVID-19, it is like experiencing a perpetual emergency in every community across the country. Public safety’s network is being tested in a completely new way, and it’s hitting the mark.

“FirstNet is a dedicated broadband platform for public safety, by public safety,” said FirstNet Authority CEO Edward Parkinson. “We worked hand-in-hand with Minnesota’s public safety community to understand their needs for the network. And these network enhancements are a prime example of how that input and feedback is becoming reality. We look forward to supporting Minnesota first responders’ use of FirstNet to help them save lives and protect communities.”

In addition to further elevating public safety’s connected experience in support of their emergency response, this new infrastructure will also help improve the overall coverage experience for AT&T wireless customers in the area. Residents, visitors and businesses can take advantage of the AT&T spectrum bands, as well as Band 14 when additional capacity is available.

For more about the value FirstNet is bringing to public safety, check out FirstNet.com.

Vast Broadband to be acquired by GI Partners

GI Partners announces…

Vast Broadband (“Vast”), a leading provider of gigabit-speed broadband, video, and phone in South Dakota and Minnesota, today announced it has signed an agreement to be acquired by GI Partners, a leading US-based investor in data infrastructure businesses, in partnership with industry veteran Rich Fish.  GI Partners will support the company and its employees to continue providing world-class service to communities throughout the region.

“Vast is committed to providing its customers with access to the most reliable, high-speed broadband connectivity available,” said Rich Fish, incoming CEO of Vast Broadband.  “As a native of the Great Plains, I am thrilled to partner with the local employees at Vast to bring high quality internet connectivity to my home region.”

Fastest and slowest rural broadband? MN not on either list

Good news or bad news? I’m not sure but SatelliteInternet recently posted the fastest and slowest broadband connections in rural America and Minnesota doesn’t make either list.

This site looks a lot like a commercial so I take much of what it says with a grain of salt but there are a number of provider options, including speeds and pridces in detail, which is nice for comparison to what you’re being offered in your community by these and other providers. They even outline the pros and cons of different services.

And they outline the issue…

According to the FCC’s 2020 Broadband Deployment Report, 22.3% of rural Americans don’t have access to internet download speeds of at least 25 Mbps (which is the recommended speed for working from home and online schooling).4,5 And the numbers are even worse on Tribal lands, where 32.1% of Americans don’t have access to internet speeds of 25 Mbps.5

Yet in metropolitan areas, only 1.5% of Americans lack access to these same speeds.5 Rural America’s lackluster internet speeds contribute to the homework gap and a lower percentage of college graduates when compared to Americans living in metropolitan areas.

They outline their methodology, which I think it interesting as we look at statewide speed testing in Minnesota…

Our data comes from speed tests taken on HighSpeedInternet.com. We examined results from more than one million US speed tests to find the fastest and slowest average rural internet speeds.

We defined a “rural” city as a community with a population of less than 10,000 people that is geographically removed from an urban city, which we qualified as meaning it’s at least an hour drive away from the nearest major city. We also filtered out locations with fewer than 50 speed test results to ensure accurate representation of the city’s average speed. In all, we ranked and researched nearly 600 rural cities in the US.

EVENT Oct 20: Celebrate ReConnect Program Award with CTC

CTC has been awarded a grant in the amount of $3,061,502 to continue to bring broadband to rural Minnesota that are unserved today. Yay! The award will be granted by the United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and RUS Administrator Chad Rupe – via Zoom and we’re all invited!

ReConnect Program https://reconnect.usda.gov
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) cordially invites you to celebrate an important investment in high-speed internet broadband infrastructure in Rural Minnesota with United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue

Date: Oct 10, 2020 3pm

Location: “Zoom” Teleconference: https://usfs.zoomgov.com/j/16194206399

Please RSVP no later than Oct 19 to: Ashley.Willits@usda.gov

AT&T stops DSL services – leaving areas with less competition

USA Today reports

On Oct. 1, AT&T stopped selling digital-subscriber-line connections, stranding many existing subscribers on those low-speed links and leaving new residents of DSL-only areas without any wired broadband.

“We’re beginning to phase out outdated services like DSL and new orders for the service will no longer be supported after October 1,” a corporate statement sent beforehand read. “Current DSL customers will be able to continue their existing service or where possible upgrade to our 100% fiber network.”

This comes in the shadow of a recent report from NDIA on AT&T’s position based on “An analysis of AT&T’s 21-state network, an August 2020 survey of CWA members, and reports by local advocates in AT&T’s service area,” which reports…

The analysis of AT&T’s network reveals that the company is prioritizing network upgrades to wealthier areas, and leaving lower income communities with outdated technologies. Across the country, the median income for households with fiber available is 34 percent higher than in areas with DSL only — $60,969 compared to $45,500.

A much older report (2016 Industry Analysis and Technology Division Wireline Competition Bureau) that demonstrates that DSL was a rural solution; cable was more prominent in urban settings.

AT&T Wireless is a big player in Minnesota; their wired services are not. But it’s worth watching how this plays out, especially to see if other providers follow in similar footsteps.

Connect America Fund CAF Carriers Opt for Seventh Year of Support

Telecompetitor provides an update on the CAF federal funding…

The CAF program offered money to the larger carriers, known as price cap carriers, in 2015 in exchange for committing to deploy broadband to rural portions of their local service territory lacking broadband service. Funding was based on a cost model. Carriers had to accept or reject funding on a state-by-state basis and most of them accepted most of the money they were offered. Funding was for six years, and deployments were expected to be completed by the end of the sixth year, but carriers had the option of electing to receive a seventh year of support. The sixth year of support ends at the end of this year.

In the December 2014 Connect America Fund report and order, the FCC stated that the purpose of the seventh year of support was to provide “a gradual transition to the elimination of support.”

They report on the providers that they know opted for a seventh year…

Over the past week, AT&T, Frontier and CenturyLink sent letters to the FCC electing to accept the seventh year of CAF support. Three other price cap carriers — Cincinnati Bell, Consolidated Communications and Windstream – also were eligible to request the seventh year of support and may have done so at an earlier date.

AT&T and CenturyLink accepted all funding for all states for which they accepted CAF funding. For AT&T, seventh year CAF funding totals approximately $427 million for 18 states. For CenturyLink, the total seventh year funding totals approximately $503 million for 33 states.

Frontier elected seventh year CAF funding for 25 of the 29 states for which it accepted funding back in 2015. The company did not accept funding for Idaho, Montana, Oregon or Washington – the four states where Frontier sold its operations to WaveDivision Capital, which uses the name Ziply for those operations.

The seventh year CAF Funding that Frontier accepted totals approximately $313 million.

The funding has been a mixed blessing in Minnesota. Some areas have seen improvements but they don’t always meet MN standards, CAF speed requirements are as low as 10/1 Mbps; Minnesota speed goals are 25/3 by 2022 and 100/20 by 2026. A connection to 10/1, and really even a connection to 25/3 does not necessarily get a community closer to the 100/20 goal. There have been some projects where state funding has been used to leverage federal funding and push for higher speeds.

Also, we reported in January (2020) that both CenturyLink and Frontier reported that they “may not have met” required milestones in Minnesota. In May, CenturyLink asked for an extension of deadline due to COVID.

Charter expands broadband in Lake Carlos area (Douglas County)

Alexandria Echo Press reports…

Charter Communications, Inc. announced completion of a nearly $150,000 broadband construction project in the Lake Carlos area Monday, Sept. 28.

As a result of this project, around 40 more farms, homes and businesses in the Lake Carlos area now have access to the company’s full suite of services.

Charter also expanded its network in Alexandria in July, which included a $250,000 investment to reach more than 160 area homes. Charter covers more than 150 communities around Minnesota, many of which are rural.

Monticello’s municipal network FiberNet is 15 years old – catch up with them via ILSR

From the unique pronunciation of Monticello (think “sello” not “chello”), the town has never been afraid to stand out. Institute for Local Self Reliance’s Chris Mitchell talks to City Planner Jeff O’Neill about FiberNet, Monticello’s municipal network. It has been the subject of talk since it started 15 years ago. Spoiler alert, it’s going well, especially in the time of COVID. Here’s the description of the conversation from ILSR -and know that it’s a fun quick listen…

Christopher and Jeff delve into the history and development of the network over the last fifteen years. They discuss how business leaders began calling for the city to look for a solution to poor Internet speeds all the way back in 2005, why the city ultimately decided to build its own network, and how FiberNet persevered in the face of an early lawsuit so that incumbent provider TDS could slow competition as it began its own fiber buildout. Jeff and Chris then talk about the network subsequently weathering a vicious price war with Charter Spectrum which contributed to the fracturing of its relationship with early partner Hiawatha Broadband, but which also brought significant savings and better customer service from incumbent providers to everyone in town.

They end by discussing the multitude of community benefits realized today by having three competing providers in Monticello — two offering Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) in the city of 14,000 — and what it means for community savings and economic development for the city moving forward. Jeff ends by sharing some of the work he’s most proud of being involved in and what he sees as important for FiberNet in the years ahead.

Crow Wing Power on broadband updates in Crow Wing, Morrison, Cass and Aitkin Counties

In their most recent newsletter, Crow Wing Power spoke with local providers about broadband upgrades and expansion in the area, often spurred by great need in COVID.

From CTC…

  • Kristi [Westbrock, CTC CEO] explained that in mid-March, the company scrambled to extend finer to where it was needed and where they could reasonably expand, so students could have access to Internet for distance learning. It’s estimated that their efforts in the Brainerd ISD 101 school district provided broadband access to approximately 200 families in the region and set up 50 hot spots where kid cluster could go to study.
  • In 2019, CTC received an $830,587 MN Border to Border grant from the MN Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to expand services to build to Ft. Ripley, and other areas in Crow Wing and Morrison Counties. This allowed CTC to build to 399 homes in portions of St. Mathias and Fort Ripley Townships, as well.
  • “Most recently, CTC received CARES Act funding from both Crow Wing and Cass County to build broadband to unserved areas of Welton Road, County Rd 10, Border Lake, Little Pine Road and unserved areas in Lake Edward Township. The funds must be used by December 1 so these locations will have access to fiber Internet.

From Emily Cooperative Telephone Company…

  • Five hot spots were also installed throughout the communities, which are still available. Josh [ECTC CEO] said they are updating 100 homes in the Crosslake area to finer services and reviewing other areas for 2021. ECTC also received a MN DEED grant of $376,000 to build fiber services to the Esquagamah and Round Lake area in Aitkin County.

Mille Lacs County looks at CARES funding for wireless broadband

Mille Lacs Messenger reports…

Talks of potential broadband expansion in the southern portion of Mille Lacs County have taken place over the last month among county board members and county administration. The county is pursuing CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act funding for this expansion.

During a special meeting in late August, the County outlined a proposal to implement broadband infrastructure using the CARES Act funding available to counties and local government.

The proposal stated that Advantenon, a broadband wireless internet provider servicing Minnesota and South Dakota, will complete the building of towers that provide broadband internet service, beginning with the southern border of Mille Lac County and working northward. Coverage in the unserved and underserved areas would extend to an east/west line three miles north of Page to the southern border of the County.

Advantenon’s responsibilities would include confirming suitable tower locations for internet backbone connectivity and for hub and spoke antenna host sites, creating construction plans for all sites, installing and configuring network infrastructure to support Internet connectivity and inter-tower connectivity, installing end users (a residential, business, institutional, or government entity that uses services for its own purposes and does not resell such services to other entities) as time permits until Dec. 31, 2020, and installing end users as requested after Dec. 31, 2020.

The County’s responsibilities were outlined as assisting Advantenon in identifying antenna host sites in smaller towns, particularly when water towers are good candidate locations, identifying antenna hosting at suitable county-owned premises and assisting in permitting process for county permits.

Advantenon will utilize the feasibility study and a past State of Minnesota grant proposal, which has been denied twice for Mille Lacs County, to confirm tower locations within the southern portion of Mille Lacs County. Once tower locations have been confirmed, the towers will be utilized to install and configure end use connectivity.

The estimated project cost, which would include six completed towers and direct internet access, is $1 million. Individual Internet plans through Advantenon would range from $39 to $109 per month or a discounted year-in-advance rate.

Paul Bunyan Communications and CTC Receive FCC Honor

Two Minnesota providers have received honors from the Digital Opportunity Equity Recognition (DOER) Program. It’s a big deal and each cooperative has earned their honor.

First the spoiler – here are the hometown heroes…

  • Consolidated Telecommunications Co. (CTC) partnered with the Brainerd School District in Minnesota to coordinate in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Within two days, using data provided by the school district on all students that did not have access to a reliable connection, CTC plotted hundreds of students into its GIS mapping system and partnered with the District to contact all families within their service area. The information led to them connecting 100 students within a week without regard to their families’ credit rating, history with CTC, or ability to pay. By the end of April, CTC connected over 300 additional homes.
  • Paul Bunyan Communications and its cooperative members have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic including the transition to working from home, increased telehealth services, and distance learning. Paul Bunyan Communications worked directly with the school districts it serves to quickly develop creative solutions to ensure broadband access for students by installing multiple Wi-Fi hot spots so students and their families in unserved areas around the cooperative would not be left behind. The cooperative has now built one of the largest all-fiber optic rural broadband networks in the United States that is delivering broadband speeds, both upload and download, up to 1 gigabit per second to over 23,000 rural locations in northern Minnesota.

And here’s what the FCC had to say…

Today, Commissioner Starks announces the honorees of the inaugural Digital Opportunity Equity Recognition (DOER) Program, which was created to acknowledge the tireless efforts of Americans working to close the digital divide in communities without access to affordable, reliable broadband. The program honorees will be recognized at a virtual reception on October 1 at 12pm ET. Commissioner Starks issued the following statement about this year’s DOER honorees:
“It is clear that our long-standing digital divide has morphed into a monstrous new COVID-19 divide. From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic through now, I have heard stories about the innovative and rapid ways individuals, non-profit organizations, and companies are responding
to the connectivity needs of people across this country who are seeking access to medical professionals via telehealth services, education, and safe ways to communicate with family and friends. In response to these efforts, I put out an open call to hear about heroic DOERs who have stepped up in their communities to ensure that no one gets left behind because they lack broadband connectivity. The DOER Program received an overwhelming response to that call
with more than 60 submitted applications, each one impressive and laudable, and demonstrating a true commitment to serving communities through acts of substance and consequence, big and small, generosity and selflessness both during the pandemic and prior to the recent events that have changed our nation.
Because of all of the strong nominations I received, alongside my advisory board, narrowing down the honorees was very challenging. I believe every applicant is worthy of recognition but there were several that rose to the top because of the scope of their accomplishments and the impact they made. From rural areas to urban corridors, students to seniors, to say this year’s DOER honorees are a stellar group is an understatement. ,
Organization, and Corporation. Congratulations to all, and please keep up the hard work.”

CenturyLink is changing its name(s)

Telecompetitor reports on CenturyLink’s changes in name and focus…

CenturyLink unveiled a new branding strategy today, effectively breaking itself into two brands. The company introduced Lumen Technologies, or just Lumen, as its new brand for its largest business segment, enterprise and wholesale.

The CenturyLink brand will remain and will represent the company’s legacy residential and small business segments. Although, CenturyLink is also introducing a new brand for that unit, Quantum Fiber, for its growing FTTH network. Confused yet?

I think most readers will be most interested in what’s happening with residential services…

CenturyLink and Quantum Fiber will now be the face for residential subscribers. There has been some speculation that CenturyLink is looking to sell its residential and small business unit. This move might add some fuel to that speculation.

CenturyLink’s FTTH footprint is rather small, when compared to its entire residential footprint. It’s not entirely clear what the Quantum Fiber strategy will be. On a FAQ section on the company’s website, an explanation of Quantum Fiber is outlined as the following:

“Quantum Fiber will be coming soon to markets where we offer superior fiber-based internet services. Specific, market-level roll out plans are still in development. Eligible customers will be notified when services become available in their area.”

The website goes on to say Quantum Fiber will eventually be available in all markets where CenturyLink offers fiber-based internet services, but specific market roll out plans are under development.

Does that mean Quantum Fiber is simply the new name for CenturyLink’s FTTH service, or does it mean the company intends to expand Quantum Fiber into new markets? Or both? Hard to tell. I guess we’ll find out, assuming Lumen doesn’t spin off CenturyLink and Quantum Fiber.

Are AT&T and other providers changing their tune about mapping or changing their spin?

AT&T is getting a lot of heat after CEO John Stankey published a column in Politico. As Ars Technica reports…

AT&T—which has spent the past decade fighting US-government attempts to improve the country’s horrible broadband maps—is now claiming to be very concerned about the mapping problem that has helped thwart efforts to wire up millions of American homes without adequate broadband access.

AT&T CEO John Stankey this week published an opinion piece in Politico with the apparent goals of improving AT&T’s reputation, reducing government regulation, and getting more federal funding. The piece is titled, “A Game Plan to—Finally—Connect Every American to Broadband,” and the first item on AT&T’s game plan is “to identify where broadband is unavailable with geographic precision.”

Most of the heat stems from the fact that AT&T (and other broadband providers) have a history of not supporting mapping. So folks are questioning the change. Medium offers a high level framework upon which they build a case…

AT&T’s Stankey game plan has 4 goal posts.

  • POINT 1:“First, we need to identify where broadband is unavailable with geographic precision.”
  • POINT 2:“Second, the Federal Communication Commission’s program that supports connectivity for low-income households needs to be modernized.”
  • POINT 3:“Third, as Congress debates earmarking up to $80 billion for rural broadband as part of the next round of pandemic relief, we should give equal weight to wired and wireless options.”
  • POINT 4:“Lastly, Washington should enact a policy framework that incorporates sustainable funding mechanisms for the long run.”

Our take is different: America needs:

  • RESPONSE, POINT 1:A complete accounting of AT&T’s copper and fiber lines in service, “lit” or not lit, (known as “dark”, which are installed but not in use) needs to be done immediately in each state utility.

  • RESPONSE, POINT 2:An investigation to explain why America’s prices are 3–14 times more expensive that other countries, worldwide — with the goal: lower rates 50% or more.

  • RESPONSE, POINT 3:Go after the $95 billion in overcharging over the last 5 years from AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink — and use the money to solve the Digital Divide, once and for all.

  • RESPONSE, POINT 4:New federal and state government oversight andenforcement with penalties and fines must happen now.

The situation calls for a high ranking ombudsman who looks out for the short and long terms needs of consumers and citizens. Or maybe, as is happening, it calls for broadband proponents to respond to Stankey’s position and start a conversation that moves us farther afield.

 

Midco brings fiber to Scandia (Washington County) with MN broadband grant

The Country Messenger reports…

Midco is furthering its mission to bring broadband services to areas of Minnesota that are unserved or underserved. A ribbon cutting is scheduled for Sept. 16 in which the City and Midco will celebrate the communications company’s expansion of its Internet services.

“I’m impressed with the expediency in which Midco has implemented its Internet expansion in Scandia.  From the award of the grant at the end of January, Midco is on schedule to complete this project by the end of October,” said Scandia City Council Member Patti Ray. “I’m also grateful to Midco adding even more homes to the project. This shows what a good corporate partner Midco is to Scandia. The City looks forward to working with Midco on future expansions because it takes a strong government/corporate partnership to cover the costly installation of high-speed Internet in rural Scandia.”

Some details from the project…

In January, Midco was awarded a grant through the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program, allowing the communications company to expand services in five different parts of Scandia.

The broadband network project will improve access to critical e-learning applications and health care resources enable telecommuting options for residents and make businesses and city institutions more efficient. Midco’s high-speed broadband connection will exceed Minnesota’s 2026 speed goal.