Greater Minnesota to get fiber-optic boost with $16.8 million in federal fundingCreated: 8/19/2010 2:25:30 PM
Businesses and households in greater Minnesota will soon have much faster internet speeds.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Commerces National Telecommunciation and Information Administration awarded HickoryTech $16.8 million to extend its fiber-optic network throughout the Midwest state.
The telecommunication company will expand the network by adding 428 miles to its existing 2,800 miles of fiber-optic cables. The new lines will connect rural community anchor institutions, including healthcare facilities, state and local government offices and schools.
Providing rural communities with affordable and high-speed internet is a major goal of the Obama administration, which looks to improve parity and competitiveness throughout the country. With broadband connections, these locations can introduce telemedicine solutions and offer more attractive settings for business growth.
Fiber cables have been embraced by healthcare facilities because of their ability to transmit data and video at high-speeds over long distances. With telemedicine, patients who live in rural parts of the country can go to a nearby health facility and have a medical video conference with specialists at hospitals in more urban areas, enabling patients to get a high level of care regardless of where they live. Fiber Optics News