Fond du Lac Breaks Ground on $8 Million Broadband Project

Taylor Holt
July 31, 2017 04:58 PM

Construction work on a new system to increase internet connectivity on the Fond du Lac Reservation is underway. A groundbreaking to launch the project was held Thursday morning.

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"About ten years ago they started working on the project," said Jamie Adams, Economic Development Planner with the Fond du Lac Band.

The Fiber to Home initiative will bring high-speed internet access to the Fond du Lac reservation. The band says it's been a huge need, and now for the first time up to 1,000 homes on the reservation will have access to the service. 

"This is a huge project for the area," said Jason Hollinday, Planning Director for the Band.

Thanks to two $3 million USDA grants, the band was able to break ground on the project. The new system will deliver internet video and voice services, and is expected to include about 160 miles of main line plus about 80 more miles of fiber to home connections.

"There's two central offices that are being installed - one in Carlton County and the other in St. Louis County," said Adams."Right now, there are several areas of the reservation that are unserved so they do not have access to high speed internet some people are still using dial up."

Hollinday says this project will also open the door for economic development and other opportunities.

"There will be better educational opportunities for themselves. Business opportunities will be there. This is similar to the 1920's and 30's with rural electrification. This is very similar to that. You need internet now to survive," he said. 

"This fiber to home is the best and probably the only solution that we had," said Hollinday.

The band will contribute $2.2 million to complete the in total - $8.2 million project. It's expected to be finished next Fall.

Rates are expected to be figured out later this year. The goal is for everyone within the reservation boundaries to have this needed service.


Taylor Holt

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