MANKATO, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Enventis, a subsidiary of HickoryTech (NASDAQ: HTCO), announced it has kicked off its $24 million Greater Minnesota Broadband Collaborative Project which will further extend its middle mile fiber-optic network across greater Minnesota. The fiber network will improve high-speed Internet access in rural communities and connect health care facilities, schools, libraries, higher education institutions and public offices with an advanced high-capacity broadband network.
Enventis started construction of the fiber network in July in northern Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin. The approximate 430 miles of fiber network will be constructed over the next two years. Enventis was awarded a $16.8 million grant last August as part of the National Telecommunication and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP). The company will contribute an additional $7.2 million to the project over the next two years.
“The project, which will be completed by 2013, will significantly increase our fiber network and enable high-capacity broadband services in greater Minnesota as well as create jobs,” said John Finke, president and chief executive officer of HickoryTech. “Construction has begun on the first phase of the project, the northern fiber route which will extend from northern Minneapolis to Duluth, Minn. and into Superior, Wisconsin.”
This broadband network will provide rural communities across Minnesota with affordable, high-capacity broadband services enabling telemedicine, economic development opportunities and improved connectivity to state and local government offices.
“Decades ago, we made sure every American had access to electricity and to the telephone, and today it’s critical we do the same for internet access,” said Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. “High-speed internet represents a smart investment that can benefit rural communities and lay the foundation for long-term economic growth.”
Enventis awarded the outside plant fiber construction contract to MP Nexlevel, LLC.
Enventis will hold a groundbreaking ceremony in Duluth, Minn. on Aug. 25 celebrating the start of construction on this project. To follow the progress on Enventis’ Greater Minnesota Broadband Collaboration project, visit www.enventis.com/stimulus.
HickoryTech Corporation is a leading communications provider serving business and residential customers in the upper Midwest. With headquarters in Mankato, Minn., the corporation has 460 employees and an expanded, multi-state fiber network spanning more than 2,750 route miles serving Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota. Enventis provides IP-based voice and data solutions, MPLS networking, data center and managed hosted services and communication systems to businesses across a five-state region. HickoryTech delivers broadband Internet, Digital TV, voice and data services to businesses and consumers in southern Minnesota and northwest Iowa. HickoryTech trades on the NASDAQ, symbol: HTCO, and is a member of the Russell 2000 Index. For more information, visit www.hickorytech.com.
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