If you had a million dollars, would you spend it on faster internet?

Faster internet can be just a pipe dream for people who live outside the Ely city limits. Speeds as slow as dial-up are all too common meaning services like Netflix and Hulu are not even a possibility.
Pointing fingers at Frontier and Midcontinent for not better servicing Ely’s rural areas has not led to any solutions. There were high hopes for Lake Connections to fill the gap, but that system is in turmoil right now.
So, we’re back to local governments stepping in to provide the infrastructure needed. If you’re a local taxpayer, be it in a city or township, should your elected officials spend tax dollars on bringing faster internet to your house?
Increasingly that answer is becoming: yes.
Even a township supervisor said he was tired of snail’s pace internet that he was making a leap of faith in hopes that Lake Connections could hook him up.
The Lake County administrator has said he spends the majority of his time these days trying to get the county out of the internet business. Lake Connections has not lived up to what the county board hoped - and now they want out. Throw in the lawsuit the county got dragged into from a contractor hired by Lake Connections and you can understand the board’s frustrations.
In the Ely area our elected officials can learn from the mistakes made in Lake County as a course is plotted to bring us in line with what people in metropolitan areas take for granted. If you live or work in Ely you have two choices for internet, Frontier and Midcontinent. But if you live out of town, it’s Frontier or nothing. While the company has shown signs of improvement, the lack of a plan to solve major internet slowdowns is maddening.
We know Ely has fiber lines that can be used. We’ve seen enough orange conduit buried that there must be a way to get off dead center and hook all of us up to the digital superhighway. We’d just like to see that happen in our lifetimes.
The Ely Area Broadband Coalition is the best thing we’ve got going on that front. City, township and school district officials have been joined by private citizens to work together for a common cause. The solution that is actually put in place may or may not be on the table today, but we believe this coalition is the right vehicle to get us there.