Ida Rukavina
Executive Director
Phone: 218-235-0029
Email: idarukavina@ramsmn.org

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Helping Households Connect

The Affordable Connectivity Program is an FCC benefit program that helps ensure that households can afford the broadband they need for work, school, healthcare and more.

The benefit provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.

The Affordable Connectivity Program is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.

To learn more about this program and to apply, click here.

NEW STATEWIDE SPEEDTEST INITIATIVE>>

RAMS and GEO Partners Statewide Speed Test

If you want to see a map of locations already tested you can click on this link below.

https://expressoptimizer.net/projects/Minnesota/speedtestmap.php

RAMS is pleased to announce this project in partnership with GEO Partners, LLC.  The collection of real-time, from home, speed tests will enable more communities to seek grant funding for broadband expansion projects.  TAKE THE TEST TODAY!  Move Minnesota forward to truly becoming a “connected community” with high speed broadband.  30 seconds is all it takes and it can make a difference. No personal information will be shared. (Addresses shown on the map are approximate).

RAMS is excited to be the host for all that is happening with broadband expansion across the Iron Range and will continue to advocate for broadband expansion in rural northern Minnesota.  If your community is considering a project, or has a project in the works, please contact me (idarukavina@ramsmn.org). Our former director, Steve Giorgi, serves on the board of directors for the MN Rural Broadband Coalition. This website is the central location for the shared documents such as feasibility studies, broadband initiatives and the hopeful broadband projects occurring in the region.

This site is a byproduct of the Blandin / IRRR broadband community grant initiative and is directly a project of the “Mt Iron-Buhl Blandin Broadband Community.”

CHECK OUT THESE LINKS FOR ACTIVE TESTS/SURVEYS GOING ON NOW!


RAMS and GEO Partners Statewide Speed Test


Broadband News
2022 REGIONAL BROADBAND PROJECTS:
                                Ash Lake:

Paul Bunyan Communications (PBC) is proposing to develop a new fiber-to-the-premises broadband internet and telephone project in the area around Ash Lake in rural northwestern Saint Louis County. This area is about 15 miles north of Orr and 25 miles south of Ray near US 53 (see map below). Currently, the entire service area is considered unserved. As such, the proposed project will serve an area that would likely never receive basic broadband service without external assistance. There are 75 Saint Louis County assigned address points in the grant area. Approximately 66 of those locations have improvements on the property.

The total estimated cost of this fiber-to-the-premises project is $270,000. If the costs exceed that amount, PBC will make up any shortfall. The expected life of the fiber optic cable is at least 30 years, but it’s anticipated the usable life will be significantly longer. This offers a significant benefit because non-fiber technologies have inherent limits in their capabilities. As long-term bandwidth needs grow, non-fiber based solutions will likely need to be upgraded to fiber in the future. Paul Bunyan Communications will install, own, operate, and maintain the fiber optic network and related equipment. Service prices are expected to be the same as all other PBC service areas (see

https://link.edgepilot.com/s/c2787129/NVQTBZ_2ckerI-H2sZ2nsg?u=https://paulbunyan.net/ for more info). Construction for this project would be scheduled for the 2023 construction season.

At the June 2022 IRRRB Meeting, two projects were funded with IRRRB Broadband money:

Broadband Infrastructure Grants: $166,000

Agency Investment $166,000 | Total Investment $450,165 | Leverage 1.7 : 1

  • White Township – Wynne Ridge & Rock N Pines Roads (Giants Ridge Area): $65,000 to expand Mediacom fiber optic to serve up to 25 unserved households in White Township.
  • Paul Bunyan Communications – Unorganized Township/Ash Lake Area (North of Orr): $101,000 to expand Paul Bunyan Communication fiber optic to serve up to 75 unserved households in the Ash Lake area. 

Check out our next potential Iron Range fiber to the home project via Paul Bunyan.

Regional Projects
City of Ely
The city will construct and own the fiber and CTC will lease the fiber and provide broadband service down both sides of Sheridan street to the business sector of Ely.  Using utility poles owned by the City and Frontier Communications this project will provide a significant upgrade in bandwidth for the business community.  The IRRR has already agreed to a $120,000 grant, the city will contribute $28,000 and CTC will cover $91,500 of the $240,000 project.  The project is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2019. (This project has been delayed partly due to the COVID, required placement of new poles and equipment shortages.  Expected completion is possible the Fall of 2020)
Bois Forte Band of Chippewa
The project consists of construction of a fiber to the premise broadband network serving 442 unserved and underserved households within the Bois Forte Reservation.  Bois Forte will construct the infrastructure and Consolidated Telephone Company (CTC) will operate and provide broadband service once the network is constructed. The project will result in speeds much greater that the Minnesota’s 2026 speed goal of 100 megabits per second down and 20 megabits up.  Construction is planned for summer of 2020.  Total project cost is $2,317,090.00 and a request for $1,158,545.00 from the DEED Border to Border grant program has been submitted. The project is contingent upon approval of the grant. The IRRR is likely to contribute $580,000 towards the project.
Ash River (Northwest St. Louis Co unorganized)
Another fiber to the premise project that would serve 121 unserved and underserved households in the Ash River Area.  Paul Bunyan Communications will construct, operate and provide broadband service once constructed.  This project will also provide broadband speeds far exceeding the 2026 Minnesota standards.  Construction is planned for the summer of 2020 contingent upon receipt of all funding. A request for $156,066 from DEED Border to Border and $105,450 from the IRRR for a total project cost of $421,800.00. PBC will contribute $160,284 towards the project.
Kabetogama Area
Fiber to the premise that would serve 207 unserved or underserved households.  Paul Bunyan Communications will construct, operate and provide broadband services upon completion.  Construction is planned for summer of 2020 contingent upon funding.  Grant requests include $236,400 from the IRRR and $349,872 from DEED Border to Border.  Total project cost is $945,600.00 with PBC contributing $359,328.
Morcom Township
Paul Bunyan Communications will construct, operate and provide broadband service via this fiber to the premise network to 126 unserved or underserved households in Morcom Township (north of Chisholm). Summer of 2020 is the target for construction contingent upon funding. Grant requests include $224,800 from the IRRR and $331,704 from DEED Border to Border grant funding.  The Township will contribute $10,000.00 towards the project which is projected to cost $900,000.00. PBC will contribute $332,696 towards the project.
Elephant & Black Duck Lake (Camp 5 Unorganized Township)
Paul Bunyan Communications will construct, operate and provide fiber to the premise upon completion of the broadband network for 124 unserved and underserved households near Elephant Lake.  Summer of 2020 is the targeted construction date contingent upon funding. Grant requests include $236,050 from the IRRR and $349,354 from DEED Border to Border grant program. Total cost is projected at $944,200.00  PBC will contribute $358,796 towards the project.
Misc Links
$28.5 million to Rural Minnesota Broadband