Southwest Minnesota Broadband Lights Up FTTH Network

  • FTTH
LAKEFIELD, MN Southwest Minnesota Broadband Services (SMBS)' fiber-to-home project became a reality earlier this month when its first customers, Pastor Andrew and Lisa Schensted, were connected to SMBS Internet and cable TV services.

SMBS is a consortium of eight Minnesota communities that received broadband stimulus funding to extend the municipal FTTH network in Windom, Minn., to their cities. The 125-mile, $12.8 million fiber ring is expected to be completed in September 2012.

The Schensteds moved to Lakefield from the Twin Cities, and Pastor Andrew said their SMBS Internet service is “at least 10 times faster” than what they had in the metropolitan area. They have been streaming video in full HD from TV streaming websites. Lisa added, “It’s just so great. I was feeling under the weather, and all of the different channels kept me entertained!”

Dan Olsen, Windomnet operations manager and SMBS general manager, says work on the fiber ring has been “fast and furious since groundbreaking on July 22." He adds, "We are thankful that the Schensteds have agreed to be our trial customer. They have been asked to use as much data as possible. SMBS is now analyzing the system to see if any adjustments need to be made before additional customers are connected.” Another small group of customers will be connected by the end of December, with communitywide installation fully under way in January.

SMBS is also working on a wireless trial that will launch in the Bingham Lake area by the end of December. Olsen comments, “The demand for higher-speed Internet in our rural area is daunting. People not only want faster speeds, they need it for their business operations.” If the wireless trial is successful, it could provide a better option to those not on the fiber system.

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