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Help may be on the way if your internet is turtle slow

If watching Netflix isn’t an option and downloading a one megabyte file takes forever, there may be some good news crawling your way.
Last week the city of Ely announced a joint effort to bring broadband to our neck of the woods. We’ve waited long enough for a private company to step up and provide high speed internet. It’s time to move forward.
In Ely your choices are basically cable or phone for internet. Cable is only available within the city limits and does not offer broadband. The phone options extend farther but the speed drops off dramatically. If you live more than two miles from town, your internet speed is on pace with a turtle.
The city along with the Town of Morse, the school district and VCC have already provided letters of support. The area joint powers board has signed on as well.
We all recognize there is a problem but we’re not sure what the solution will be. It appeared that Lake Connections was going to be our internet savior. There were lines being buried all around the area. But nothing has come of it. We know of no Lake Connections customers in the 55731 zip code. Zero.
The city is looking to get a Blandin Broadband Communities Grant to find ways to bring broadband to the area. It’s a good step.
We’ll go back to when Bill Henning and the EADA were talking about making sure Ely was on the information superhighway more than a decade ago. It was the right move then and still is now.
To be fair, Ely does have fiber lines. You just can’t get connected directly to them unless you want to fork over $1,000 per month. That’s not business or residential friendly. It’s super highway robbery.
We need a solution sooner than later. We’d prefer to see private enterprise step up but our patience is worn thin. Whether it’s Frontier, Midco or Lake Connections, not one has stepped up to provide the next level of service to the Ely area. Many of us are still in dial-up mode speed-wise.
The city may need additional letters of support as it proceeds with grant applications. We’re sure there are plenty of businesses and home owners who can tell horror stories of their internet experience. Twice in the past month we’ve had no service in Ely during business hours. This is not acceptable in today’s digital society.
We hope Blandin and the IRRRB recognize the need for broadband and find a way to make it happen without delay. No more promises and
“we plan to” lines. We want fiber lines connecting our businesses and homes to the internet.

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