Company to bring broadband access to

By Robert Williams

Editor

Mid-Continent vice president Justin Forde attended the Frazee City Council meeting on Monday, June 20, to seek permission for his company to construct a state-of-the-art fiber network in the community to provide broadband internet, phone and television access.

“This system would open with five-gigabit symmetrical speeds to every address, which is as fast as anybody else is doing in the country and perhaps the fastest,” he said. “In the not too distant future, we’ve already made a $500 million commitment for 10-gig speeds that will probably start launching in 2025 and throughout our Midco network by 2030.”

Midco began a $20 million project to bring services down highway 10 from Hawley to Lake Park, Audubon and Detroit Lakes.

“We have several types of these projects going throughout the upper Midwest,” Forde said.

According to Forde, Midco specialized in rural broadband, mainly in the Dakotas and Minnesota

“Many of the cities we serve are closer to 500 in population than 5,000, as well as a lot of farms and rural areas,” he said.

Midco has been installing fiber in Detroit Lakes over the past year and plans to extend those services to Frazee and down Highway 10.

Fiber installs would likely begin in 2023.

Based out of Fargo, N.D., Forde noted that the increase in people working remotely has driven demand for better broadband speeds in the lakes area.

The company is nearing completion of office space for engineering teams and installation teams based out of the Detroit Lakes industrial park and would likely have a point based in Frazee upon project completion.

Midco would negotiate with the city to determine the timeliness of fiber installation in town from one team that moves around the city or a full install upon an evaluation of the location of current underground services.

The city recently approved a new franchise agreement with Arvig, based out of Perham. An agreement with Midco would be similar in nature and have to go through the regular approval process before construction teams would start planning work that could begin spring of 2023.