Minnesota Public Radio, March 26, 2012
When the city of Monticello started providing broadband service in late 2010, advocates hailed it as a model for bringing new technology to an underserved region. Fiber optic lines were making Internet access as fast as anywhere in the state. ILSR’s Christopher Mitchell comments on the issue of overall broadband costs in the city saying, “Now everyone’s saving money because everyone’s lowering their prices,” he said. “If you outlaw even the possibility that communities could build those networks, then there’s less incentive for private providers to build, to invest in these communities.”
Many cities and towns in outstate Minnesota have been wrestling with how to improve broadband performance for residents. The state has a goal of ubiquitous access for the entire state by 2015 and the bar for what is considered adequate service continues to rise.
Monticello has been contacted by officials in the neighboring towns of Becker, Annandale and Big Lake, wanting to know how Monticello got it done. There’s also an effort in Sibley and Renville counties to bring broadband to rural areas that don’t have it.