Fiber to the Premise (FTTP) comes to Dundas; whither Northfield?

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I’ve noticed crews installing fiber in various parts of southern Northfield the past couple of weeks. I look this photo last week near the Community Resources Bank on Jefferson Road.

And then this article appeared in yesterday’s Northfield News: New fiber optic cable will be rolled out in Dundas.

Jaguar Communications is the company installing the fiber in Dundas and their web site says “Jaguar is now offering Telephone and DSL service in Northfield, MN” but nothing about FTTP/FTTH.

I blogged about this back in April, whining that what’s needed is a webpage (a blog?) that keeps residents, businesses, and PROSPECTIVE businesses updated on all-things related to ultra high-speed internet access for the area. The EDA’s 2007 workplan initiative (PDF) is on the their website, and it includes an outline for Fiber Optics (Strategy 1E):

  • Implement “low hanging fruit” projects
  • Formalize relationship with Colleges
  • Develop better understanding of infrastructure
    • Capacity of utility & ability to serve customers
  • Coordinate installation of conduit
    • Example: Riverside Drive

Seems like it would be easy/helpful (low hanging fruit!) to have a fiber-related resource page on the EDA site since we citizens have paid $85k for that city website. I’ll nudge Rick! And what about that Fiberoptic Task Force? I’ll nudge Tracy! (To be fair, Tracy did blog an update about the task force here on Locally Grown back in early July.)

Seems like it would be easy/helpful to also have a fiber-related resource page on the Northfield Enterprise Center’s website, last updated in March of 2006. I’ll nudge Blake!

8 thoughts on “Fiber to the Premise (FTTP) comes to Dundas; whither Northfield?”

  1. Jauguar told us (Dundas) that while they served Northfield already, it was done by renting existing infrastructure (slow DSL) from other providers. We were very happy when they explained that laying fiber through Dundas meant that they could offer it to the residents. Bridgewater township residents also may be able to tie in to the main fiber (which runs down county road 20). Bridgewater and Dundas residents should be pretty happy with this opportunity, and we hope local businesses will also benefit from this situation.

  2. Hey Griff:

    I thought you might be interested in the editorial from today’s (8/22/07) The Citizen of Laconia (New Hampshire), “Way behind on high-speed Internet access”…

    It opens with: “There’s been talk of expanding the economy of New Hampshire’s North Country for decades. There’s also been talk of expanding broadband Internet access in the state for more than 10 years.”

    It continues: “Economic development and wider high-speed Internet connections go hand-in-hand. It’s a 21st-century dynamic. If New Hampshire is going to have a statewide economy–one that is globally connected–high-speed Internet is the key.”

    It closes with: “Sen. Reynolds (State Senator Deborah Reynolds) wants to make broad-band access a priority. So do we. So should anyone who wants to improve the overall economy of our state.”

    So, maybe we’re ahead on the physical technology but behind on the philosophical mind-set?

    See you Downtown,

    Ross

  3. Hey, Griff, this really is on my get-to list. You raise excellent points. I have a massive folder stuffed with data and stats about how pathetic MN and the US are compared to the rest of the developed (and even much of the developing) world, and all the possibilities and applications that are unavailable to people and communities without sufficient bandwidth, and why it matters.

    The immediate problem is one of awareness and education. Why is what we currently have insufficient, and what are the implications if we stay where we are or, more likely, fall even further behind the curve?

    If there really is a market for ultra-high-speed broadband and/or fiber to the premises, why isn’t it being filled? (Because it’s a form of infrastructure, and as such is very expensive; plus, lower-population areas such as Northfield/Rice County/Southern MN don’t provide a way for service providers to get an adequate ROI in the next 3-5 years.)

    The implications of NOT utilizing new technologies (available only with speeds deliverable via fiberoptic cable) are staggering – particularly for businesses that want to become or remain competitive in the global economy. If the EDA and the NEC and the Chamber REALLY want to help business development in Northfield, they’d jump on this bandwagon and start playing really, really loud. Unfortunately that hasn’t happened yet.

    This is just a teaser for a big fat post furthering this topic from yours truly… Real Soon Now.

  4. In today’s Nfld News: City gets grant to study fiber optics

    Up to $25,000 from a foundation that supports rural Minnesota communities should help determine the future of fiber optics in the city. The money, from the Blandin Foundation, must be matched dollar-for-dollar by the city and used to conduct what Information Technology Director Melissa Reeder termed an open network feasibility study.

    Blandin has a Blandin On Broadband blog, with Ann Treacy as the chief blogger. (Full disclosure: I helped them get it going.)

  5. Griff,

    Great to see this topic going! I think everyone is asking the right questions, including – why are the US and MN behind in terms ultra high speed broadband access?

    I think Tracy nails it when she says this is an issue of awareness and education. Many of the incumbent vendors claim there isn’t a market for fiber – but partially because people don’t know what to ask for or why to ask for it. With its wealth of colleges, I think Northfield is in a unique position to build up the education on broadband.

    I just wrote an article on an open network project in Amsterdam. One of their goals was to “give Europe a competitive position over the Far East and USA.”

    Maybe that will spur some ideas for education. After all, who doesn’t love a friendly challenge?

    I look forward to reading more on broadband from Northfield!

  6. Greetings, Ann. Good to have you chiming in from Ireland. Hopefully, one of the orgs in town will set up a “fiber in our economic diet” blog where we can keep the townsfolk and our extended network updated as we go.

  7. We at the Blandin Foundation are delighted to support Northfield’s interest in exploring Open Access Networks as an option for your community.

    We think this new idea is worth taking a look at, and we’re pleased that folks in Northfield agree. Open Access Networks (OANs) are public-private partnership-based alternatives to the currently dominant model in the US of incument owned and operated, closed networks. They are unique, in that they are owned and controlled independently of any service or content that runs over them.

    Think of them like airports. Airlines pay airport authorities a fee for using the airports, or ground shipping, where trucking companies pay governmental entities license fees for using local roads. Imagine the inefficiency if every airline built its own airport, or if DHL, Federal Express and the US Postal Service all built their own roads over which to deliver their goods.

    Another benefit Open Access Networks offer is that they are intentionally structured to ensure that the benefit and value of broadband connectivity is passed on to end users to a far greater extent than closed public and private sector-operated systems.

    Good luck to Northfield in your important work of improving your community’s connectivity and positioning yourself to thrive economically in a challenging future.

    See Ann Treacy’s blog post from August that announces the release of our case statement we’ve written about OANs with more details and case studies. It’s titled Live at the Speed of Light (24 page PDF)

    Bernadine Joselyn
    Director, Public Policy and Engagement
    Blandin Foundation

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