(Northland's NewsCenter) --- Construction of nearly 430 miles of fiber optic network cable is underway in Brainerd.
It's part of the three year Greater Minnesota Broadband Collaborative Project that rolled into Duluth and Superior last year in August.
The $24 million project will help connect businesses across the state.
The fiber network will connect the Twin Cities metro area to the Twin Ports as well Brainerd, Fargo North Dakota and Moorhead.
"Whether it be through internet access at home, through our phones or other devices, we are seeing the great need for access and communications," Greg Flanagan, Enventis Director of Business Development and Wholesale Services.
Construction in Brainerd is part of the projects second phase.
It's expected to be completed this fall and activation will begin about a year from now.
"Those that have reached out to us are excited about the opportunity of another broad band pipe and capacity in the community," Jennifer Spaude, Enventis Director of Investor Relations said. "Broadband is certainly not a luxury it's a requirement for a healthy community to thrive."
The network will deliver a minimum of 100 MB of broadband Ethernet services to 80 major healthcare, government and education systems as well as to 74,000 small and medium businesses.
It's exactly what northland business leaders say will help keep rural regions on an even playing field with national and global organizations.
"Having broadband in the Northland is going to be fantastic," Elaine Hansen of the UMD Center for Economic Development said. "It's really going to give us an edge. People want to live here, they want to do business here, they want to visit here. Having broadband here will allow all of that to happen."
Duluth based Enventis, has invested more than $7 million in the statewide networking fiber.