NEW ULM– A special kick-off event was held to announce the construction of the Nuvera Gig Cities project to deploy gig-speed fiber internet in the area.
Since last year, Nuvera has planned to deploy the technology across its networks to bring the fastest speeds available for rural communities.
Over the last year, New Ulm has served as the pilot city to instal gig-speed fiber.
Glenn Zerbe, Nuvera’s chief executive officer, said Nuvera is investing in excess of $200 million to build the broadband infrastructure.
Nuvera has seen a significant demand to expand broadband service to rural parts of the state and the pandemic has made the need more acute.
Zerbe said during the pandemic the need for broadband was clear. During lockdowns, the need for fast and reliable internet increased exponentially. Many families needed it to do work and attend classes.
He said many of those using internet are not only consumers. They use it for creating and for work. By building the broadband infrastructure, Nuvera hopes to bring the service to where people need it.
By establishing gig-cities, Nuvera is hoping to attract new families and businesses to rural communities. The high-end broadband will also be more available to low-income families.
Zerbe estimated that nationwide, between 7% and 8% of households are not connected to the internet. In rural areas, the percentage is higher.
During the pandemic when many households with school kids were relying on high-speed internet, school districts were finding it easy to get devices to students.
The cost of equipment has decreased enough for many district to loan students a device with internet access. Zerbe said the real hurdle is the monthly connection fee. It is hoped the Gig Cities project will help keep costs down.
About 300 service connections have been made in New Ulm within the last two weeks. Nuvera work crews hope to complete 80 connections a week through the rest of 2022.
“Nuvera is our hometown company and their continued infrastructure investments cultivate opportunity for businesses and contribute to the great quality of life we have here for families,” said New Ulm Mayor Terry Sveine.” We are excited that spring is here, and work is beginning on this important project or our community.”
To learn more about the Nuvera Gig Cities project and updates on construction and service availability, visit NuveraGigCities.com.
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