Minnesota uses co-ops to expand broadband, Mass. picks Lightower

Maine and Massachusetts are moving forward on broadband. Minnesota’s broadband task for released its first report last week which shows that co-ops are helping the state expand rural broadband. Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI), a division of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, has selected Lightower to provide a diverse network solution as part of its MassBroadband 123 initiative, a strategic network initiative which expands broadband and Internet throughout the state of Massachusetts.

Minnesota Public Radio highlighted this map from the broadband task force report which shows that some areas in the state have already met 2015 goals for broadband access. Still others are using a co-op model to expand access. 57% percent of Minnesota households are meeting the state’s goal for sufficient access to high-speed broadband.

Minnesota received $200 million in federal stimulus money to expand broadband throughout the state, focusing on providing access to anchor institutions in rural areas. Companies involved in the expansion include Paul Bunyan Communications which received a $17 million loan from the US Department of Agriculture to work on the project. Enventis, a subsidiary of HickoryTech, is also working through the Greater Minnesota Broadband Collaborative Project to support statewide access.

Massachusetts is working toward a similar goal and just today chose Lightower Fiber Networks which provides network and bandwith services throughout the northeast. Lightower will connect the MassBroadband 123 network to the major Internet connection point in Boston. The company will also work on providing redundant network capabilities throughout Boston.

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