New, faster broadband service for Palisade area

Shown left to right are Angie Dickinson, Rusty Hawley, Kathey Hachey, Ken Hirstey, Phil Yetzer, Josh Netland, Randy Moritz and Brent Christensen participating in a ceremonial ground breaking for the new fiberoptic internet project serving Esquagamah and Round lakes near Palisade.

On Aug. 27, residents of Waukenabo Township and nearby areas gathered at the Waukenabo Town Hall to celebrate the beginning of a new broadband project.

Minnesota Executive Director of Broadband Development Angie Dickinson,  and Crosslake Communications/ECTC General Manager  Josh Netland addressed those gathered at the site, saying that the project would eventually provide fiber optic services to approximately 350 customer locations.

Netland said the first connections will be near Esquagamah and Round Lakes west of Hwy. 169. Brent

 Christensen from Minnesota Telcomm Alliance was also present.

“We want as many as possible to know that we are bringing fiberoptic services to the area,” Netland said. “The pandemic delayed the start date we had planned for early May, but we are making good progress now.”

Midwest Utilities is installing the main line, and Zenergy, Inc. will be doing the drops to individual homes, starting on the west side of Equagamah Lake. Future expansion is anticipated.

“Right now, ECTC is only offering a 100 MB service,” said Netland. “We expect to have 100 drops installed within three weeks.”

Co-op board members Norman (Rusty) Hawley, Ken Hersey, Kathy Hachey, Phil Yetzer and Randy Moritz were present at the groundbreaking ceremony. Netland and project team members Tyson Kincaid (plant supervisor), Kirsten Peterson (accounts) and Debby Floerchinger responded to questions from stakeholders.

Dickinson talked about the $375,000 Border to Border Broadband grant that ECTC received to help with the project.

“I want to personally thank the ECTC board for its leadership in working to develop broadband infrastructure for the community,” Dickinson said.

Christensen also addressed the group, acknowledging how much hard work had been done to prepare for this project, both before the cooperative was awarded the grant, and afterward as it prepared for today’s groundbreaking.

Customers who would like to be connected should contact Kristen Peterson at ECTC 800-992-8220. Residents of the area can also go to getfibertoyourarea.com and register their interest. That action can help prioritize future connections, Floerchinger said.

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