FERGUS FALLS, MN – Otter Tail Telcom (d.b.a. Park Region), a leading provider of high-speed internet and communications services, will begin construction of its Minnesota Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant that will pass over 1,200 business and residential locations within the greater Fergus Falls area.
To kick off the construction of this project, Park Region hosted a fiber groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, May 11, 2023. In attendance were key partners including the State of Minnesota, Otter Tail County, and local townships. These collaborative efforts will be monumental for Park Region to expand broadband access in Otter Tail County.
“We are really excited about this opportunity to bring fiber to the local area,” said Dave Bickett, Park Region’s CEO. “Fiber broadband is the new utility driving growth and opportunity. It is an essential component to any vibrant area. We are honored to work with our amazing partners to extend our fiber network. Without their help and commitment this would not be possible.”
Park Region, along with Otter Tail County, and local townships partnered together in 2022 and submitted a grant application totaling $8.4 million to expand broadband services around the Fergus Falls area. The infrastructure will span over 270 route miles of fiber and bring with it state-of-the-art technology with speeds up to 1 Gigabits per second.
“This project is over $8 million, and while I think it is really important that yes, the state has over $3 million invested; you all as community partners have put in over $5 million,” said Bree Maki, Minnesota’s Office of Broadband Development Executive Director. “I think that is really what this program stands to help support that local knowledge and contribution and importance.”
The project is expected to take two years to complete. Once the new infrastructure is fully in place and operational it is expected to boost the region’s economic growth, along with online education, remote working, telehealth services, and provide new opportunities for businesses to grow and thrive.
“This infrastructure will help move us into the future,” said Amy Baldwin, Otter Tail County’s Community Development Director. “When you look at the county’s long-range goals, this type of investment is highly noted and is important for us to continue our vision into the future as a county.”
The areas that are being reached through this partnership have long needed high-speed internet services. It comes to show that partnerships like these demonstrate the importance of collaboration and community involvement to achieving common goals.