Bringing Broadband to the North Shore

MinnPost reported yesterday that Cook County voters will decide on a 1% sales tax to fund, among other projects, the construction of a fiber optic network along the north shore of Lake Superior.

Internet connectivity, infamously slow throughout the region, is increasingly linked to the ability to conduct business—even for businesses that capitalize on the remote and pristine nature of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Services like online reservations and broadband wireless in hotel rooms have become standard expectations among many consumers, but are nearly impossible to provide without improving infrastructure.

Cook County has also applied for a federal grant to help fund the project. And according to MinnPost, a current pole shows that “90 percent said they would subscribe to a local broadband supplier.” Yet attempts to bring high speed internet to other parts of rural Minnesota have met with inconsistent reactions, even generating a lawsuit by the Bridgewater Telephone Co./TDS on the grounds that paying for broadband projects cannot be financed with revenue bonds because it is not a utility.

Visit the MinnPost article HERE for an indepth analysis and a link to Cook County’s grant application.

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