Minnesota begins construction on statewide broadband network

Work begins today on a new broadband network in Minnesota designed to connect anchor institutions like public offices, schools and libraries. The Greater Minnesota Broadband Collaborative Project is a $24 million broadband network that will provide greater access throughout the state. Enventis, a subsidiary of HickoryTech, will be managing the build out. The project will extend a middle-mile network to anchor institutions and provide public offices and agencies with a high capacity network.

Eventis started the working on the network in July in Superior, Wisconsin and will extend fiber over nearly 430 miles throughout northern Minnesota. Along with anchor institutions and public offices residents of the area will have the opportunity to subscribe to broadband access.

Eventis expects the work to be completed by 2013. The company was awarded a $16.8 million grant last August as part of the National Telecommunication and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP). The company will contribute an additional $7.2 million to the project over the next two years.

At the same time, the Southwest Minnesota Broadband Services (SWMBS) Operations Center will be coordinating work on the broadband network in the southern half of the state. Work in the south will be supported by U-reka Broadband Ventures and will encompass 3,700 homes and businesses. Southwest Minnesota Broadband Services was awarded $12.7 million from U.S. Department of Agriculture for their work and will be able to offer broadband subscription services to residents in southwest Minnesota after completion.

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