Rural Broadband Project Breaks Ground

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to attend the Southwest Minnesota Broadband Services Group (SMBG) Groundbreaking in Lakefield.

SMBS will be building fiber-to-the-premise infrastructure to eight rural communities throughout Southwestern Minnesota. The network will consist of a 125 mile fiber ring which will connect the eight communities and an FTTP infrastructure within the communities that will support a total of over 3,500 passings.

I shared my notes with Ann Treacy, who writes the Blandin on Broadband Blog and happens to be on another continent at the moment, hence unavailable to cover the event live and in-person.  The festivities featured supporting comments by a representative of Senator Al Franken, and a phone call from Senator Amy Klobuchar (supported by her husband, John Bessler):

Franken sent a letter and Klobuchar phoned her comments saying, “It’s not about one town, it’s about the whole region.” The economic development potential of the new infrastructure was noted, “Once this is up and running the impact will be huge… We want jobs going to Okabena, not India.”

This was the first time I’ve tried typing notes on my iPad (using Evernote, kind of a nifty system to coordinate note-taking, picts, etc across multiple platforms) so I hope the quotes were “write-on”.  That’s what I heard anyway.

We also heard from USDA-Rural Development state director Colleen Landkamer (who must not spend much time at all behind a desk since she’s out and about our part of Greater Minnesota quite a bit);  Keith Stubbe, SMBG Board Chair; and Dan Olsen from WindomNet, who has signed on as Southwest Minnesota Broadband Services general manager.

Good luck to all on this exciting project!


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