City of Scandia, MN

Updates on Internet Expansion Efforts In Scandia


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Scandia Internet Expansion Plan

The Internet Action Committee will work diligently to provide High Speed Internet coverage to the citizens of Scandia quickly at the lowest cost to the City by leveraging grants from both State and Federal government, and funding from current service providers with infrastructure in the community, and the City. 

Internet service of 1 Gig Down (1000 Mbps) and 20 Mbps Up will be delivered wherever financially practical first.  Areas with significantly higher construction costs will come later and may require a combination of wired and wireless solutions to achieve our goal. 

We will seek financially viable solutions without increasing taxes. Studies have shown that substantial municipal funding required to provide Internet to communities with low household density has been unsustainable and imposed serious burdens on taxpayers.   Scandia is in that group with a household density of less than 50 homes per square mile.  

However, by working with existing Internet providers in the community who already cover a substantial area we keep expansion costs to a reasonable level, avoid unnecessary financial risks and will still deploy High Speed Internet throughout Scandia in the shortest time.

Each month provides new information that could lead to new approaches. Technology continues to advance and the IAC is dedicated to employing that new technology wherever practical. Regular contact with Internet expansion partners will ensure Scandia will continue to lead in expanding our High-Speed Internet footprint.

Our goal is to see Scandia’s Internet expansion successfully conclude with the entire City served by the end of 2024.

Year by Year Goals
(Household numbers are approximate.) 

Year One - 2020   Goal 200 + Homes Start:  792 homes at 44% Covered 
DEED Grant/Midco/Scandia Actual 240 Homes  End:  1032 homes at 57% Covered

Year Two 2021 Goal 200+ Homes Added / Total of 1232 homes for 68% Covered
Year Three 2022 Goal 200+ Homes Added / Total of 1432 homes for 80% Covered
Year Four 2023 Goal 200+ Homes Added / Total of 1632 homes for 90% Covered
Year Five 2024  Goal 168+ Homes Added / Total of 1800 homes for 100% Covered
                               
Funding Options                              
DEED Grant/Midco/Scandia
Rural Digital Opportunity Fund
Foundation Grants
ISP (MidCo, Frontier, Other)/Scandia/ Homeowner Neighborhood Projects / 50-25-25%

Technology Options
MidCo Fiber Deep
Midco Fixed Wireless
Frontier Fiber to the Neighborhood / G.Fast
Private Fixed Wireless
Private Gigabit Passive Optical Networks (Fiber – GPON)

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Internet Action Committee (IAC) Report for City Council 8-18-2020 (Revised 8-24-20)

Scandia MidCo Construction Update:

Overall underground work is at 41,568’ (8 miles) complete out of 92,807’ (17.5 miles) or 45% complete. We expect all underground work will be complete by September 15th and all 6 nodes will be active and ready for customers by October 15th at the latest; provided there are no material or weather-related delays.

We’re on target to have people get service by the end of October.  That’s 240 households (500 residents) with access to high speed Internet with 1 Gig Down and 20 Mb Up that didn’t have it before.

I drove all the expansions areas yesterday and the progress is looking good.  This construction is referred to as ‘Fiber Deep’.  MidCo runs fiber to a node and converts to coax within the last mile or so.  Conduit will allow a direct fiber connection from the node to customers, businesses or homes, if desired (additional installation and monthly charges will apply).

New Grant Applications:

We’ve made it past the first internal review as MidCo prepares its DEED grant applications for this fall.  MidCo starts with about 30 targeted projects then further reduces that to 12 projects.  We’re currently in that group of 12.

The areas of this new DEED grant application are still under evaluation but will by necessity be adjacent to existing MidCo infrastructure to keep deployment costs to a reasonable level.

Last Friday MidCo was required to inform competitors in the area of their intent to file for another grant.  In our case that’s Frontier. MidCo will continue their internal process going to 6 candidate projects to submit to DEED this September (this was the same process as last year).

Ultimately DEED approved 2 of the 6 MidCo projects last year, one of them being Scandia’s.  Once again, our monetary participation in these grants has been an important factor increasing our chance of success.

MidCo is also working on a federal grant for our area.  This is part of the FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunities Fund (RDOF).  There is no need for Scandia to contribute money for these grants.  We will not know the results of this process until late October.  The areas eligible for this grant are available at the FCC RDOF page here: https://www.fcc.gov/reports-research/maps/auction-904-preliminary-eligible-areas/

Submitted by:
Robert Wilmers
Chair
Scandia Internet Action Committee

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Scandia Internet Expansion Update 8/24/2020

MidCo 2020 Project

As of August 14th, 2020, overall underground work is at 41,568’ (8 miles) complete out of 92,807’ (17.5 miles) or 45% complete. We expect all underground work will be complete by September 15th and all 6 nodes will be active and ready for customers by October 15th at the latest; provided there are no material or weather-related delays.

We’re on target to have people get service by the end of October.  That’s 240 households (500 residents) with access to high speed Internet with 1 Gig Down and 20 Mb Up that didn’t have it before.

Scandia_2020_Midco_Broadband_Expansion_Project(2)
MidCo crew working near Olinda Trail and 202nd Street N.

This construction is referred to as ‘Fiber Deep’.  MidCo runs fiber to a node and converts to coax within the last mile or so.  Conduit will allow a direct fiber connection from the node to customers, businesses or homes, if desired (additional installation and monthly charges will apply).

For real time construction updates and information of Internet packages look here:
https://midco.com/about/service-areas/scandia

For technical details of MidCo Internet Services look here:
https://www.midco.com/legal/internet-service-performance/

As Midco continues work on its broadband network extension to bring critical access to the residents and businesses of Scandia, you may be contacted by a representative of Midco regarding permission to bury lines on your property. This will be a large feeder line drop. Additionally, Midco will place a small pedestal next to the power transformer box in the homeowner’s yard, near the end of each driveway. This will ensure residents and homeowners can be connected with Midco’s services after the build is complete.  If you wish to contact Midco directly with a verbal permission to clear the way for construction, please contact Laura Morrison-Peterson at 651-900-0058.

New Grant Applications

We’ve made it past the first internal review as MidCo prepares its DEED grant applications for this fall.  MidCo starts with about 30 targeted projects then further reduces that to 12 projects.  We’re currently in that group of 12.

The areas of this new DEED grant application are still under evaluation but will by necessity be adjacent to existing MidCo infrastructure to keep deployment costs to a reasonable level.

MidCo will continue their internal process going to 6 candidate projects to submit to DEED this September (this was the same process as last year). 

Ultimately DEED approved 2 of the 6 MidCo projects last year, one of them being Scandia’s.  Once again, our monetary participation in these grants has been an important factor increasing our chance of success.

MidCo is also working on a federal grant for our area.  This is part of the FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunities Fund (RDOF).  There is no need for Scandia to contribute money for these grants.  We will not know the results of this process until late October.  The areas eligible for this grant are available at the FCC RDOF page here:  https://www.fcc.gov/auction/904

RDOF_Funding_Map(3)
Areas in Scandia eligible for RDOF Funding.

If you have questions or comments for the Scandia Internet Action Committee please send them to:
mail@ci.scandia.mn.us
Include IAC in the subject line.

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AG Ellison settles with Frontier, concluding investigations into Minnesota telecoms providers

Settlement to provide meaningful benefits to Frontier’s customers, many of whom live in Greater Minnesota

July 13, 2020 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced today that his office has entered into a settlement with Frontier Communications. The settlement with Frontier concludes the three major investigations and lawsuits that the Attorney General’s office launched into Minnesota’s major telecoms providers for deceptive, misleading, and fraudulent practices. Attorney General Ellison’s office settled lawsuits against CenturyLink and Comcast/Xfinity earlier this year.

The Assurance of Discontinuance with Frontier Communications of America, Inc., Frontier Communications of Minnesota, Inc., and Citizens Telecommunications Company of Minnesota, LLC (collectively, “Frontier”) resolves the Attorney General’s investigation into possible deceptive and misleading practices related to Frontier’s billing and sale of internet services. As part of the settlement, Frontier agrees to fully disclose its prices for internet service to new customers before they take service, allow many current customers to cancel their current service without penalty, make significant investments to upgrade its network to provide better service, and pay restitution for past harm.  

Frontier provides telephone and internet service to approximately 90,000 customers in Minnesota, many of whom live outside the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metro area and have limited options for high-speed internet service.  Minnesotans who are customers of Frontier may submit a claim for restitution through a dedicated claim form on the Attorney General’s website, or by calling (651) 296-3353 (Metro) or (800) 657-3787 (Greater Minnesota).

“It’s hard enough to afford your life these days. For so many folks, especially in Greater Minnesota, affording your life means being able to rely on the promises your telecoms provider makes for the internet service you depend on. For too many Minnesotans, Frontier broke its promises,” Attorney General Ellison said. “With this settlement with Frontier, and following the resolution of our lawsuits against CenturyLink and Comcast/Xfinity, now most Minnesotans can trust that they’ll be getting what they paid for from their telecoms providers, and that they’re paying what they were promised and no more.”

The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office began its investigation in 2018 after receiving numerous complaints from Frontier’s customers. Based on its investigation, the Attorney General’s Office alleged that Frontier used a variety of deceptive and misleading practices to overcharge its customers, such as: billing customers more than they were quoted by Frontier’s agents; failing to disclose fees and surcharges in its sales presentations and advertising materials; and billing customers for services that were not delivered. Attorney General Ellison’s Office also alleged that Frontier sold Minnesotans expensive internet services with so-called “maximum speed” ratings that were not attainable, and that Frontier improperly advertised its service as “reliable,” when in fact it did not provide enough bandwidth for customers to consistently receive their expected service.

Attorney General Ellison’s settlement resolves these allegations by requiring Frontier to take the following steps:

  1. Clearly disclose the important terms of its internet service to potential customers at the time it sells them internet service. This disclosure must include the exact “base price” for Frontier’s service; estimated amounts of any taxes, fees, surcharges, and one-time fees; and any recurring charges. Frontier must also disclose the time period that the customer will be charged this amount, and any applicable cancellation charge.
  2. Provide all new customers with a written Order Confirmation that identifies the customer’s total expected charges, and provide customers with the ability to cancel service without charge before installation.
  3. Reform its sales and advertising practices to ensure customers are informed of the speed capability of internet service at their specific locations.
  4. Notify existing customers who are not receiving internet service at the maximum speed they are paying for, and allow those customers to change to a lower-priced plan or discontinue service at no cost.
  5. Ensure that every customer’s maximum internet speed is at least 90 percent of the maximum speed advertised in the customer’s service plans.
  6. Invest at least $10 million over four years to improve its broadband network. This amount is in addition to any money Frontier may receive from outside government grants, and its current commitments for improvements.
  7. Pay restitution of $750,000 that the Attorney General’s Office can distribute to Frontier’s customers for past harm.

Before entering into this settlement, Frontier had filed for bankruptcy in New York.

In January of 2019, the Minnesota Department of Commerce filed a separate report with the Public Utilities Commission, which found that the telecommunications provider failed to provide adequate, reliable phone and internet service to Minnesota customers.  The Department of Commerce found that “[m]any of the issues reported by consumers show direct violations of Minnesota law and [Minnesota Public Utilities] Commission rules, and indicate broad, systemic problems with Frontier’s service quality, recordkeeping and business operations.” The Attorney General's Office began its investigation of Frontier before the Department's report and the Attorney General's settlement does not impact the Department's or the PUC's investigation.

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Scandia Internet Expansion Plan

The Internet Action Committee will work diligently to provide High Speed Internet coverage to the citizens of Scandia quickly at the lowest cost to the City by leveraging grants from both State and Federal government, and funding from current service providers with infrastructure in the community, and the City. 

Internet service of 1 Gig Down (1000 Mbps) and 20 Mbps Up will be delivered wherever financially practical first.  Areas with significantly higher construction costs will come later and may require a combination of wired and wireless solutions to achieve our goal. 

We will seek financially viable solutions without increasing taxes. Studies have shown that substantial municipal funding required to provide Internet to communities with low household density has been unsustainable and imposed serious burdens on taxpayers.   Scandia is in that group with a household density of less than 50 homes per square mile.  

However, by working with existing Internet providers in the community who already cover a substantial area we keep expansion costs to a reasonable level, avoid unnecessary financial risks and will still deploy High Speed Internet throughout Scandia in the shortest time.

Each month provides new information that could lead to new approaches. Technology continues to advance and the IAC is dedicated to employing that new technology wherever practical. Regular contact with Internet expansion partners will ensure Scandia will continue to lead in expanding our High-Speed Internet footprint.

Our goal is to see Scandia’s Internet expansion successfully conclude with the entire City served by the end of 2024.

Year by Year Goals
(Household numbers are approximate.)

Year One - 2020   Goal 200 + Homes Start:  792 homes at 44% Covered 
DEED Grant/Midco/Scandia Actual 240 Homes  End:  1032 homes at 57% Covered

Year Two 2021 Goal 200+ Homes Added / Total of 1232 homes for 68% Covered
Year Three 2022 Goal 200+ Homes Added / Total of 1432 homes for 80% Covered
Year Four 2023 Goal 200+ Homes Added / Total of 1632 homes for 90% Covered
Year Five 2024  Goal 168+ Homes Added / Total of 1800 homes for 100% Covered

Funding Options                              
DEED Grant/Midco/Scandia
Rural Digital Opportunity Fund
Foundation Grants
ISP (MidCo, Frontier, Other)/Scandia/ Homeowner Neighborhood Projects / 50-25-25%

Technology Options
MidCo Fiber Deep
Midco Fixed Wireless
Frontier Fiber to the Neighborhood / G.Fast
Private Fixed Wireless
Private Gigabit Passive Optical Networks (Fiber – GPON)

Back to Top

Last updated Monday, October 5, 2020 3:13:16 PM
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