More details on Sherburne County’s MN broadband grant project

According to Star News

The $110,661 grant, in conjunction with a local match from Sherburne County, will allow high-speed internet to serve 32 more homes and businesses and the Haven Town Hall.

This project supports customers that border Sherburne County Road 3 between county roads 7 and 20. That is just south of St. Cloud Regional Airport and east of Highway 10. The project will connect to an existing Palmer Wireless network that is being built as a result of the 2016 Border to Border St. Cloud Airport project.

Most of the locations in this area are rural homes, farms and businesses with large open spaces

“Easy access to reliable, cost-effective internet service has become a facilitator of economic growth. This partnership will bring improved broadband services to several businesses, homes and farms within our community,” said Dan Weber, assistant county administrator.

The county partnered with Palmer Wireless in the form of a $135,253 interest-free loan to help fund the project. The county has been installing the necessary conduit needed for the fiber in conjunction with highway improvement projects.

Humphrey School recognizes innovative local government broadband projects

The University of Minnesota reports…

Across the state of Minnesota, local governments are finding creative ways to deliver services to their residents with greater impact and at lower cost. Examples include expanding broadband access in rural Minnesota communities, improving educational outcomes for American Indian students, and enhancing emergency response to people with mental health issues.

Those projects and nearly two dozen others are being recognized by the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, as recipients of its 11th annual Local Government Innovation Awards (LGIA).

Sunrise Township was recognized for their work getting better broadband through CenturyLink and a State Border to Border Broadband grant…

Township Category: Sunrise Township—Broadband Initiative
Sunrise Township in Chisago County spearheaded an extensive effort consisting of community meetings, required notices, and securing approval from 50 percent of property owners, to bring broadband infrastructure to its residents. A collaborative effort between residents and the township board led to creation of a Subordinate Service District (SSD) to help facilitate the installation and financing of high-speed internet through Century Link. The township received a grant and began acquiring a bond, while Century Link assists with funding and works to install fiber optics to SDD area residents by December 2018.

Traverse County also got a nice nod for their work on a wireless project at the county level.

AT&T Plans to Launch 5G Evolution in Minneapolis in Time for Big Game

Good news for Minneapolis, from AT&T for the Superbowl – here’s the press release…

AT&T plans to launch 5G Evolution in parts of Minneapolis in the coming months. It will provide its latest network technology in some parts of the city, including areas near the host stadium, in time for the Big Game in February.

 

Minneapolis is one of 20 markets where we plan to bring AT&T 5G Evolution by the end of the year, with this technology already available in parts of Austin and Indianapolis today. 5G Evolution offers customers a taste of the future of entertainment and connectivity on their devices.

 

In 5G Evolution markets, we upgrade cell towers with network upgrades that include ultra-fast LTE Advanced features like 256 QAM, 4×4 MIMO, and 3-way carrier aggregation. These features, together with other upgrades, are providing faster speeds and a better customer experience.

 

With the LG V30, Moto Z2 Force Edition, Samsung Galaxy Note8, Samsung Galaxy S8, Samsung Galaxy S8+, and the Samsung Galaxy S8 Active, AT&T wireless customers in 5G Evolution markets can use these 3 technologies simultaneously. This makes it possible to take full advantage of the wireless experience. We’ll have more 5G Evolution capable devices in the coming months.

 

“We’re excited about launching this new wireless network in Minneapolis in the coming months as we move towards standards-based mobile 5G,” said Marachel Knight, senior vice president, Wireless Network Architecture and Design. “The upgrades we’re making today in Minneapolis are the foundation for the future of next generation connectivity in this city.”

 

We’re aggressively deploying equipment and investing in the right mix of spectrum and technology while 5G standards are still being finalized. We’re working with more than a dozen global technology companies to deploy 5G. And we’re are an industry leader finalizing 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) wireless standards requirements by the end of the year. These standards will enable chipset development for global 5G.

 

This is a major step on our journey to deliver standards based 5G mobile networks as soon as late 2018.

 

We’ve been working closely with the city of Minneapolis to ensure its network is ready to support the technology of the future. The investments we’re making prepare us for the future of 5G and innovations like smarter cities and immersive entertainment experiences over augmented and virtual reality.

“Minnesota is in a great position to welcome 5G Evolution wireless technology, with a climate that encourages the deployment of small cells – an integral building block for 5G,” said State Senator Bobby Joe Champion.  “Good public policy can help put Minnesota on the map and attract investment that will prepare our state for the next generation wireless economy.”

“It’s no surprise Minneapolis was chosen as a market for 5G Evolution,” said Margaret Anderson Kelliher, president and CEO of the Minnesota High Tech Association.  “Minnesota is well on its way to becoming one of the country’s top five states in science and technology, with a strong innovation economy, talented tech workforce and fast growing tech companies.  These ultra-fast speeds from AT&T will help power tech innovation and boost Minnesota’s competitiveness.”

 

Adding these LTE Advanced technologies to the wireless network in Minneapolis is just one of the ways we’re investing to improve the customer experience in the area.

 

From 2014-2016, we invested nearly $350 million in our Minnesota wireless and wired networks. These investments drive a wide range of upgrades to reliability, coverage, speed and overall performance for Minnesota consumers and businesses. They also enhance critical services that support public safety and first responders.

 

In 2016, we made 1,271 wireless network upgrades in 272 communities across Minnesota. This includes adding new cell sites and network capacity to existing cell sites. Continuing to expand our network in the area gives AT&T the most wireless coverage in Minnesota.

 

Besides upgrading the network in and around downtown Minneapolis, we’re also making significant upgrades to Distributed Antenna System (DAS) at the Big Game host stadium in downtown Minneapolis. The DAS at the stadium is future-ready.  That means we’ve overloaded the stadium with wireless capacity and boosted LTE capacity by more than 150% compared to last year. With more than 800 antennas, the network inside the stadium alone could provide coverage to the entire city of Minneapolis.

 

Our Progress on the Path to 5G

 

Small cells are also an important ingredient on our path to 5G.  We’ve already installed a number of small cells in Minneapolis and plan to add more in the next few months.

 

The payoff of our 5G network will be limitless for our customers. Lab trials are already reaching speeds up to 14 gigabits-per-second with fixed wireless 5G technologies. We’ll continue advancing 5G in our AT&T Labs locations and in field trials. And we plan to delve further into the role of software-defined networks and 5G.

 

*About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) helps millions around the globe connect with leading entertainment, business, mobile and high speed internet services. We offer the nation’s best data network and the best global coverage of any U.S. wireless provider.** We’re one of the world’s largest providers of pay TV. We have TV customers in the U.S. and 11 Latin American countries. Nearly 3.5 million companies, from small to large businesses around the globe, turn to AT&T for our highly secure smart solutions.

AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc. Additional information about AT&T products and services is available at about.att.com. Follow our news on Twitter at @ATT, on Facebook at facebook.com/att and YouTube at youtube.com/att

AT&T Brings Faster Network to Southwest Minnesota

Looks like good news for SW MN…

4G LTE Expansions Means Better Mobile Internet Access for Customers in 25 Communities 

MANKATO, Minn. Oct. 13, 2017 — AT&T* made 26 individual network updates to cell towers on its 4G LTE network in 25 southwest Minnesota communities.

The communities include Adrian, Belgrade, Brooten, Buffalo Lake, Ellendale, Fairfax, Fairmont, Glencoe, Granite Falls, Hutchinson, Jasper, Lafayette, Lake Lillian, Litchfield, Luverne, Madelia, Madison, Minneota, New London, Owatonna, Pennock, Raymond (2), Springfield, Willmar and Winthrop. (In the following counties: Micollet, Martin, Kandiyohi, Stearns, Brown, Steele, Sibley, Nobles, Yellow Medicine, Renville, Meeker, Mcleod and Lac qui Parle.)The new and upgraded towers give customers faster, more reliable wireless service.

We also have up to a dozen more updates planned in southwest Minnesota by the end of the year, including in Mankato.

Additionally AT&T made 79 baseband network upgrades in 66 communities in southwest Minnesota. Baseband upgrades will help us reach faster network speeds and implement the next generation of wireless technology.

The communities include Adrian, Alpha, Appleton, Beaver Creek, Belgrade, Bellingham, Benson, Bird Island, Buffalo Lake, Canby, Chandler, Clara City, Clarkfield, Cold Spring, Comfrey, Cosmos, Cottonwood, Dassel, Fairfax, Glenwood (2), Granite Falls, Hancock, Hills, Hoffman, Holmes City, Hutchinson, Jackson, Jasper, Jeffers, Kensington, Kimball, Lake Benton, Lake Wilson, Lakefield, Litchfield (2), Luverne (2), Madison (2), Marshall (2), Melrose, Montevideo, Morris, Mountain Lake, New London, Ortonville, Paynesville, Pennock, Pipestone, Raymond (2), Redwood Falls (2), Regal, Rockville, Saint James, Sanborn, Slayton, Sleepy Eye, South Haven, Spicer (3), Springfield, Tracy, Tyler, Vesta, Westbrook, Willmar (4), Windom, Winthrop and Worthington (2). (In the following counties: Pipestone, Renville, Swift, Lyon, Stearns, Nobles, Murray, Lac qui Parle, Rock, Brown, Grant, Douglas, Stevens, Meeker, Lincoln, McLeod, Sibley, Yellow Medicine, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Jackson, Pope, Watonwan and Redwood.)

4G LTE lets customers stream videos, share on social media or text family and friends easier. We’re also boosting network speeds and capacity as we expand the availability of our network.

“We want our customers to have a great mobile experience. Thanks to this investment, southwest Minnesota residents and businesses can now enjoy faster mobile speeds than ever before on our 4G LTE network — which is the nation’s best data network**,” said Paul Weirtz, president of AT&T Minnesota. “We’re always working to provide better coverage. And these investments in our wireless network in southwest Minnesota helps accomplish that.”

“The AT&T investment in upgrades to its wireless network strengthens the connectedness that highlights our region as a competitive business and talent destination,” said Jonathan Zierdt, President & CEO of Greater Mankato Growth, Inc.  “Businesses and talent are continually seeking out the very best amenities, and AT&T’s investment strengthens our amenities portfolio.”

From 2014-2016, we invested nearly $350 million in our Minnesota wireless and wired networks. These investments drive a wide range of upgrades to reliability, coverage, speed and overall performance for Minnesota consumers and businesses. They also enhance critical services that support public safety and first responders.

In 2016, we made 1,271 wireless network upgrades in 272 communities across Minnesota. This includes adding new cell sites and network capacity to existing cell sites. Continuing to expand our network in the area has given AT&T the most wireless coverage in Minnesota.

Cautionary Language Concerning Forward-Looking Statements

Information set forth in this news release contains financial estimates and other forward- looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ materially. A discussion of factors that may affect future results is contained in AT&T’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. AT&T disclaims any obligation to update or revise statements contained in this news release based on new information or otherwise. 

*About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) helps millions around the globe connect with leading entertainment, business, mobile and high speed internet services. We offer the nation’s best data network** and the best global coverage of any U.S. wireless provider. We’re one of the world’s largest providers of pay TV. We have TV customers in the U.S. and 11 Latin American countries. Nearly 3.5 million companies, from small to large businesses around the globe, turn to AT&T for our highly secure smart solutions.

Frontier is going wireless for its CAF 2 commitment

Doug Dawson of CCG reports on Frontier’s decision to build wireless network with their CAF 2 funding…

Frontier Communications just announced that they are testing the use of wireless spectrum to complete the most rural portions of their CAF II build-out requirement. The company accepted $283 million per year for six years ($1.7 billion total) to upgrade broadband to 650,000 rural homes and businesses. That’s a little over $2,600 per location passed. The CAF II program requires that fund recipients increase broadband to speeds of at least 10 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up.

He outlines the good and the bad about the technology…

I have mixed feelings about using federal dollars to launch this technology. On the plus side, if this is done right this technology can be used to deliver bandwidth up to 100 Mbps, but in a full deployment speeds can be engineered to deliver consistent 25 Mbps download speeds. But those kinds of speeds require an open line-of-sight to customers, tall towers that are relatively close to customers (within 3 – 4 miles) and towers that are fiber fed.

But when done poorly the technology delivers much slower broadband. There are WISPs using the technology to deliver speeds that don’t come close to the FCC’s 10/1 Mbps requirement. They often can’t get fiber to their towers and they will often serve customers that are much further than the ideal distance from a tower. Luckily there are many other WISPs using the technology to deliver great rural broadband.

The line-of-sight issue is a big one and this technology is a lot harder to make work in places with lots of trees and hills, making it a difficult delivery platform in Appalachia and much of the Rockies. But the technology is being used effectively in the plains and open desert parts of the country today.

And why this may not be best use of federal funding…

I see downsides to funding this technology with federal dollars. The primary concern is that the technology is not long-lived. The electronics are not generally expected to last more than seven years and then the radios must be replaced. Frontier is using federal dollars to get this installed, and I am sure that the $2,600 per passing is enough to completely fund the deployment. But are they going to keep pouring capital into replacing radios regularly over time? If not, these deployments would be a sick joke to play on rural homes – giving them broadband for a few years until the technology degrades. It’s hard to think of a worse use of federal funds.

There are people who do wireless well. If federal funding is going to be spent on wireless, it’s too bad it can’t be shifted to those folks who make it their business to serve rural areas well with wireless solutions.

Video – Why 23 million Americans don’t have fast internet

There are a lot of things I like about this video – you just need to know in advance that it doesn’t end after 2:30 or 3:30. It’s great to hear about wireless solutions – but for today as the video says, we need to look to the past to get the infrastructure we need! And that solution is in the second half of the video…

Sherburne County, State, Palmer Wireless partner on project to extend broadband to businesses in St. Cloud area

An update from Sherburne County and Palmer Wireless…

The Sherburne County Board of Commissioners Sept. 12 approved a loan to facilitate the expansion of broadband service to 16 businesses and underserved residents in the St. Cloud area.

The agreement is a partnership between the county, Palmer Wireless and the State Department of Employment and Economic Development. It will be the second project in which those partners have cooperated to extend 1Gbps fiber to businesses and residential customers in Sherburne County.

The previous project focused on the area around the Big Lake Industrial Park and extended broadband to more than 20 businesses in and around the park. It also provided service to allow the Big Lake Police Department to more quickly upload its body camera footage from cameras to state databases.

Palmer Wireless is committed to delivering broadband solutions to communities in Central Minnesota, said Laura Kangas, who co-owns Palmer Wireless with her husband, Albert.

“Although our wireless solutions fill a critical need for many of our homes and businesses, Fiber To The Home and Business is the most future-proof solution to a path of 1 Gbps connectivity, however it is also the most costly,” she said. “We are grateful to Sherburne County in seeing this need for better broadband and working with us to deliver a fiber solution to our communities through a very affordable loan solution to compliment the State of Minnesota Border to Border grant award.”

Palmer Wireless’ own investment, along with the state grant and the county loan, will allow these projects to be built and to be sustainable, she said.

“That enables our communities to have state-of-the-art affordable broadband solutions to help them thrive now and into the future,” Laura Kangas said.

“Easy access to reliable, cost effective internet services has become a facilitator of economic growth and we are thrilled to partner with Palmer Wireless and the State of Minnesota to bring improved fiber infrastructure to county residents,” said Dan Weber, assistant county administrator.

The County and Palmer Wireless are partnering once again to apply for two additional Border to Border Broadband grants in 2017 that would serve property owners in both Clear Lake and Becker townships. Grant awardees are scheduled to be announced later this year.

New Airport Project Details

Project cost: $460,000

County contributes: $102,250 in existing economic development funds

Palmer Wireless contributes: $178,350

State Border to Border grant (DEED) contributes: $179,400

Palmer Wireless receives an interest-free loan from the county that they begin to pay back in year three, and finish repaying in year nine.

Big Lake Industrial Park Project Details

Project cost: $211,600

County contributes: $35,000 in existing economic development funds

Palmer Wireless contributes: $85,612

State Border to Border grant (DEED) contributes: $90,988

The county receives 100 Mbps service at the 10 Mbps rate at the Palmer Town Hall sheriff’s office location for the first seven years of the agreement. After that, Palmer Wireless will make a monthly payment to the county, paying off the loan in year 11.