The North Dakota based Red River Rural Telephone Association has received more than 8.5 million US dollars as Federal loan and the telecommunication company has decided to continue its work to bring high-speed internet to each community in Richland County. Red River had earlier expanded and brought its internet services to some communities within Richland County, including Wyndmere when the city received its cable upgrade last summer.
Installation staff are now working in Hankinson to finalize work Red River has been undertaking since 2004 that has covered an area of more than 1,500 square miles with fiber optic cable in Richland County and Clay County, Minnesota, says officials from Red River Communications. The construction includes deployment of 145 miles of buried fiber optic cable. This makes the company meet growing demands for high-speed internet from its area of service.
Workers with Ripley’s Inc. of Erhard, Minn., are now making drops for fiber optic cable in Hankinson, work that is expected to take place for the next few weeks. The new fiber optic cable is connecting to residential homes by “plowing” the cable into the ground, which is less invasive than digging. Lidgerwood is next up for this high speed cable and should see work start there sometime this summer. Work began in Hankinson June 15. Steady progress already is being made as some homes and businesses here already have had their fiber optic drops in place.
Workers Tuesday bored a trench beneath the railroad tracks on Hankinson’s Main Avenue in preparation for dropping the cable. The railroad requires steel pipe beneath its tracks. It will take about three months to complete the work in both Hankinson and Lidgerwood. Residents should not see any disruption between their phones or internet service during this time.
The funds were made possible through the Rural Utilities Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This investment in new infrastructure became necessary to replace failing copper cable put in the ground about 30 years ago. That line is deteriorating and beyond repair. Rather than have it fail, Red River Communications opted instead to replace it with fiber optic cable to allow better speed and broadband services. Any technology today is capable of running on this new fiber optic line.
It’s expected Red River Communications will have all of Richland County on the new fiber optic system during the next few years. The individual communities not yet connected will be completed in the next two to three years, including Fairmount, Great Bend, Mooreton, Colfax and Abercrombie.