MiBroadband to benefit underserved rural areas
Wed, 08/01/2018 - 2:22pm admin
—MiEnergy, Mabel Tele., Spring Grove Comm. are partners
Marcie Klomp News Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Harmony, Minn. - Rural residents in northeast Iowa and southeast Minnesota will soon have a new and local option for wireless broadband service: MiBroadband. The company was recently formed through a partnership with three area cooperatives.
The new service was announced at a media event on July 24 at Harmony Telephone Company. MiBroadband is the result of a relationship between MiEnergy Cooperative (of Cresco, Iowa and Rushford, Minn.), Mabel Cooperative Telephone Company and Spring Grove Communications.
Cresco and Rushford areas will be the first to see the new broadband service as early as late fall/early winter 2018. A home or business does not need to be a customer of any of the cooperatives, but must have a line of sight to the tower, which is about 5-7 miles.
In addition, MiEnergy is now part owner of Harmony Telephone Company, along with Mabel Telephone and Spring Grove Communications, who purchased the company in 2006. MiBroadband will be located at the Harmony office.
Brian Krambeer, president/CEO of MiEnergy Cooperative, explained, “The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) instructed electric cooperatives to roll out broadband to rural areas like we did electricity in the 1930s.” MiEnergy then formed a committee to look into the possibilities.
Much of the preparatory work has already been done. MiEnergy built a broadband network so the Rushford and Cresco offices could communicate easily and automated its substation equipment throughout its territory after they merged in 2017. That equipment will be the basis to build off with the new wireless broadband service.
Having reliable high-speed internet is almost a requirement in today’s world of technology during work, school and play. The forming of MiBroadband will allow underserved rural areas to receive the same service their city counterparts already enjoy.
This partnership between the three cooperatives also forms a template for other companies and areas to follow, opening up rural communities to up-to-date technology and putting them on the global map.