Steve Giorgi
Executive Director
Phone: 218-780-8877
Email: SGiorgi@ramsmn.org

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RAMS is pleased and exicted to be the host for all that is happening with broadband expansion across the Iron Range.  If your community is considering a project, or has a project in the works, please contact me (sgiorgi@ramsmn.org).  RAMS will continue to advocate for broadband expansion in rural northern Minnesota and I serve 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!


St. Louis County Broadband Speed Test

Koochiching Broadband Speed Test

Itasca Broadband Speed Test

Rural broadband: an economic necessity, not a luxury

Iron Range Broadband Survey


BROADBAND FEASIBILITY STUDY UNDERWAY:
Utilizing the boundaries of the Virginia, Eveleth/Gilbert, Mesabi East and northern portion of St. Louis County School districts, communities, townships, the Laurentian Chamber of Commerce and others thanks to a Blandin/IRRR Community Broadband grant are now in the process of surveying local residents ( Iron Range Broadband Survey ) to help determine the need and interest in high speed broadband for another area of the Iron Range.  Diane Kruse with NEO Partners out of Colorado is conducting the second feasibility study for an area on the Iron Range.  NEO has extensive experience in rural projects and collecting survey results will play an important role in the project.  Also involved in the process is GEO Partners, a Minnesota company that has quickly become the premier mapping software provider in the industry and is working on mulitiple northern Minnesota counties and RAMS conducting crowdsourcing speed tests.   St. Louis, Koochiching, Itasca and Carlton County are all conducting speed tests that help locales qualify for Federal grant funding sources by providing evidence that what the provider states they are offering the resident is not truly what the resident is receiving when it comes to broadband speeds.  Links to all of the county speed tests can be found here: https://expressoptimizer.net/public/   PLEASE TAKE THE SURVEY AND THE SPEED TEST.

Broadband News

 

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.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