CenturyLink drops the Big Gig in Twin Cities

Metro areas receiving the new 1-gig-per-second service. IMAGE: CenturyLink

Metro areas receiving the new 1-gig-per-second service. IMAGE: CenturyLink

For some continued perspective on the drive to improve broadband infrastructure in rural Minnesota, note that cable giant CenturyLink is rolling out a 1-gigabit per second service in the Twin Cities over the next few months. CenturyLink announced its plans this week. That’s roughly similar to the speeds touted by Google Fiber, which has garnered huge attention wherever it has been installed.

Heck, that’s the kind of download speed that can get Duluth Mayor Don Ness to jump in Lake Superior.

Here in rural Itasca County I get about 25 megabits of download speed on an $130/month satellite internet package, with only about 2 MB of upload. I’m also capped at 25 gigs of total bandwidth (up and down) each month. It’s like this for a lot of people in rural areas, even if we live just a few miles from faster service.

The argument I keep making is that rural Minnesota can compete with the metro economy if it has the communication infrastructure to allow the “work of the world” to go on here. But this story shows that cable companies will continue to incentivize the delivery of fast internet in tightly-compacted areas where they can make a lot of money with little maintenance. You can’t blame them. That’s why rural areas have to show leadership and foresight to overcome the initial barriers to attracting private internet services to come here. Once they do; Katie bar the door. We’ve got the quality of life that e-commuters want.

It really is just like rural electrification. It would take a real extremist to say that the Tennessee Valley Authority was bad for America and a real maniac to suggest it was bad for Tennessee. We must ignore the political dogma and the soothing promises of local cable companies with a vested interest in their monopolies. This is very important. I’m happy to say I’m working on some very exciting projects along these lines here in Northern Minnesota. Stay tuned.


  1. 25Mbs download??? I read that 4 times. Really??? That’s 8x what most of us get with a private up and coming Iron Range ‘net company. And many of my friends get less than that.

  2. It’s not bad and that’s why we pay $130 a month. But we’re capped and it’s dictated by the weather and capacity. So sometimes it’s much slower, more like dial up. And when we hit our 25G bandwidth (about two feature length movies, not that we’d ever download one) we’re down to a trickle — some of the slowest and least consistent internet I’ve ever seen.

  3. Theodore Kamis says

    The ritzy neighborhoods in the Twin Cities will get the gig…me, in a relatively poor neighborhood in Brooklyn Park, that’s another story.

    Two years ago, after six years of waiting for Qwest and CenturyLink to upgrade their pipes so we could get faster than 1.5 Mbps DSL, after ample promises of “soon, very soon”, after the City of Brooklyn Park government basically told me that they don’t care if I was pounded to death by some random gang-banger (whether their pants were below their butts, or if their butts had Tasers and their shirts had a police badge), since I didn’t live in the good part of town, and didn’t give a damn whether CenturyLink upgraded, the max speed is STILL 1.5 Mbps in my neighborhood.

    Comcast is faster – but the ritzier neighborhoods in Brooklyn Park also pay about $3 per month less to Comcast for the same service. So red-lining lives, and Brooklyn Park government doesn’t give a damn about it.

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