Internet Cables Guided Under St. Louis Bay

By KBJR News 1

August 25, 2011 Updated Aug 25, 2011 at 6:10 PM CDT

A statewide network to connect all parts of Minnesota through a new, faster broadband Internet held a ground breaking for the Twin Ports part of the project today. Jordan Weinand tells us why Enventis decided to bring this service to the Northland.

Enventis, a Duluth Subsidiary of Hickory Tech Corporations in Mankato got a grant of nearly 17 million dollars to install a fiber cable that will help speed up broadband Internet service throughout Northern Minnesota and Wisconsin. John Finke, CEO of Hickory Tech Corporation says the three year installation is designed to enhance the way people connect in the region.

"The whole purpose of it is to enhance the broadband or Internet infrastructure in the state of Minnesota. What we're doing is what they call a middle mile project, so we are building from community to community."

The program will enable high speed Internet access in 36 rural communities within 23 counties. It will connect communities all on one network from the Twin Ports to the Twin Cities, Brainerd and Moorhead. U–S Senator Amy Klobuchar says the difficulties in getting this type of connectivity going is similar to the problems faced by our fore fathers as communication systems improved.

"Internet is the infrastructure challenge of our generation. Just as the government worked to bring electricity and telephone service to every home in America in the 1930's, we need to be working today to bring high speed Internet to every home in this decade."

Here off Rice's Point, the company will dig a trench below the bay coming out at Conner's Point in Superior. The wire will then be extended through a pipeline under Superior Bay connecting Duluth and Superior with nearly two thousand feet of fiber. Scott Walter who is directing the construction says the job in the Twin Ports might be a company record.

"This one is of size and scope in some respects is a record breaker because of it's length about 21 hundred feet under the bay and our pipe is around 60 feet deep from the surface of the water.

The Greater Minnesota Broadband Project has already installed 53 miles of a 430 mile job. The portion, from Minneapolis to Duluth, started at the beginning of the year and hopes to finish up by January if the weather holds. This networking job when completed will have cost nearly 24 million dollars.