ASH LAKE- Approximately 66 households in the area around Ash Lake in northwestern St. Louis County will soon jump onto the digital superhighway when Paul Bunyan Communications (PBC) completes an …
ASH LAKE- Approximately 66 households in the area around Ash Lake in northwestern St. Louis County will soon jump onto the digital superhighway when Paul Bunyan Communications (PBC) completes an extension of its high-speed broadband fiber optic GigaZone network soon.
The locations will have access to broadband internet connections of up to 10 Gbps, along with voice telephone services.
The Dept. of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation supported the project with a $101,000 Broadband Infrastructure grant to PBC, and St. Louis County matched that amount with a grant from American Rescue Plan funds. The total project investment is estimated at $270,000.
The project area is about 15 miles north of Orr and 25 miles south of Ray near Hwy. 53. Because the entire project area was considered unserved, it likely would never have received basic broadband service without external assistance. The Ash Lake project has approximately four miles of mainline fiber optic cable and is scheduled to be completed in December.
“This project will give the people and homes access to the fastest internet speeds available, both upload and download speeds up to 10 Gig,” said Steve Howard, Paul Bunyan Communications’ IT and Development Manager. “It will be a huge service improvement for everyone in the project area. In addition to the 66 locations passed, Paul Bunyan Communications was able to leverage the fiber installed to provide services to mobile phone towers. The expanded mobile phone coverage will greatly improve communications throughout the area.”
St. Louis County is Minnesota’s largest county at over 6,800 square miles in area and has the highest number of unserved households in the state.