Updated: 03/25/2014 3:57 PM
Created: 03/25/2014 3:46 PM WDIO.com
By: Renee Passal
So many places in the Northland are benefiting from high speed broadband, brought by the Middle Mile Fiber Project.
Spearheaded by the Northeast Service Cooperative, the project is more than 915 miles of fiber optic cable, that has linked places like St. Luke's, the Virginia Schools, and the city of Duluth offices with high speed internet services.
"We have about 30-35 sites left to connect this construction season," said project coordinator Jeanette Mellesmoen. "We hope to add more in the future. I believe we'll be benefiting even more families in rural areas in the coming years."
The project spans 8 counties in the Northland.
John Klarich, superintendent of Mt. Iron-Buhl schools, said that they've been hooked up for about two years.
"The speed is indescribable. There is instant learning. We have options we've never had before," he explained. Now that the students are using iPads, the speed is especially important. "Our old system wouldn't have supported that."
Jon Loeffen is the Inside Plant Manager for the project, and showed us inside one of their main hubs at the Northeast Service Cooperative. "Think of fiber optic as kind of like a rainbow. We capture the light coming in off the different colors, and split those colors off into services for people."
It's different than other providers because it has a variety of back-up measures in place, including batteries to make sure there is always power.
A combination of federal grant and loan are paying for the installation of the fiber optic. Users pay a monthly fee.
The Northeast Service Cooperative recently received the Brian L. Talbott Award for distinguished contribution in the area of technological innovation and support to local school districts. They were the only ones, out of 552 others across the nation. The award was given out in Texas, from the Association of Educational Service Agencies.
Keetac Expansion Off the Table
U.S. Steel has confirmed they are no longer pursuing an expansion at Keewatin Taconite. It was first announced in 2008.
Last Defendant Sentenced in 'Last Place' Case
Joseph Gellerman has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for his role in the sale of synthetic drugs at the former Last Place on Earth store in downtown Duluth. Gellerman is the son of store owner Jim Carlson, who is appealing after receiving a 17-year sentence.
Wilf: 'We Made a Mistake' on Peterson Decision
Vikings owner Zygi Wilf says the team "made a mistake" by bringing back Adrian Peterson following his indictment on a felony child-abuse charge in Texas. In a reversal announced early Wednesday, Peterson will not play this Sunday.
Wisconsin, Michigan Among 4 States to Cut Food Stamps
Wisconsin and Michigan are among four states nationwide that is enacting cuts to the food stamp program.
Police: Duluth Man Admitted to Killing Mother
A 37-year-old man called police early Tuesday morning and told dispatchers to send officers to a Lincoln Park residence. The man allegedly met officers at the door and told them they should arrest him because he just killed his mother.