Letter to the editor: Lake County broadband
By: From Jeff Roiland Project Manager, Lake Connections, Two Harbors, Lake County News Chronicle
I’m writing in regard to the article published March 28, 2013, that addressed the Lake County broadband project.
While recent public attention is focused on the questions that were raised by the U.S. House Committee to the Rural Utilities Services, the project team at Lake Connections continues to bring fiber to businesses and residents in Lake and southeastern St. Louis counties.
The project, not unlike any other construction project that relies on the government bidding process or working through the winter, has experienced some delays. However, project partners and construction crews continue to make progress on the construction of more than 2,000 miles of fiber throughout our designated service area.
I’ve had the opportunity to speak to community members across the service area. Recently, Lake Connections hosted community information meetings in Duluth Township, Silver Creek Township and Knife River to standing-room-only audiences. “Take rates” (businesses/residents that have given permission to bring fiber to their property) are more than 75% in Silver Bay and 65% in Two Harbors.
Residents in the Lake Connections service area are anxious for the service and are requesting information about when the services will be available and at what cost. Lake Connections will have competitive pricing and will release those details as the services become available. Due to the competitive nature of the communications industry, the pricing packages will be released to the public closer to the actual service start date to preserve pricing integrity.
As for progress – it’s visible throughout the County. Construction crews are currently bringing fiber to businesses and residents in Silver Bay. Approximately 10% of extensions and 25% of the fiber construction have been completed in this Phase 1 of the project.
It is expected that significant construction will be completed by the end of the summer throughout Phase 2 of the project. The final 750+ miles of Phase 3 will be completed within the next two years. Persons wishing to track construction progress are encouraged to view the “Gaining Speed” page at lakeconnections.com
The most tangible asset to the region may be the administration / service center, currently under construction in the extensively renovated First Solutions building in Two Harbors. This facility will be completed by this July and eventually 20-30 people will work out of it. Residents and businesses in the County will have access to local service and management – a huge advantage in this industry.
As for the questions brought to the Rural Utility Services, the County – and all of us associated with the project – will cooperate by providing information as may be requested.
In the meantime, our construction crews will keep laying the infrastructure that provides a long-awaited viable and cost competitive broadband solution for businesses and residents in our service area.
To learn more about the project and receive updates, check lakeconnections.com