Minnesota's RS Fiber Project Moves Forward

  • FTTH
WINTHROP, MN - Renville-Sibley Fiber, a two-county community fiber project in Minnesota that has been organizing since early this year, has taken several important steps toward what project leaders hope will be a groundbreaking next spring.

Project leaders have been soliciting expressions of interest from residents of the two counties for several months, and 2,700 households and businesses have now returned pledge cards. Based on this result, the Joint Powers Board determined that there was enough interest to begin discussions with a financial company with the goal of negotiating terms for a financial package to build the network. The board selected Oppenheimer, a large national financing company that has experience financing FTTH networks, as the partner to negotiate with.

The board also hired MP NexLevel to produce a more detailed estimate of construction costs in preparation for the financial negotiations. Finally, the board selected Hiawatha Broadband Communications as the operator of the network. HBC, based in Winona, owns and operates several FTTH networks in Minnesota and is currently constructing several more.

The board is now considering expanding the network to include parts of two other neighboring counties and four new communities so it can serve all the children who attend the schools in the original service area.

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