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Nuvera announces plans to build gig-speed network

NEW ULM — This month, Nuvera Communications, inc. announced plans to build and deploy Gig-speed fiber internet across its networks, bringing the fastest speeds available for rural communities across Minnesota.

“This is a transformational moment for Nuvera as we make a future-focused investment in communities we serve by providing the most reliable fiber-to-the-home access to Gig-speed services,” Glenn Zerbe, Nuvera’s Chief Executive Officer said. “Our homes, businesses and communities need reliable and affordable connections to school, workplaces and entertainment, as an important and growing part of everyday life.”

There has been a growing demand to expand broadband service to rural parts of the state for several years. The state legislature has pushed for this expansion as a necessary infrastructure. Nuvera has hoped to deliver on this need for some time. The COVID pandemic was a major push in getting the Gig-speed service rollout started.

Zerbe said the pandemic has not been a positive experience, but during the pandemic, Nuvera was able to upgrade its system and match with user needs. During lockdowns, the need for fast and reliable internet increased exponentially. Many families needed it to work and attend classes. Nuvera was able to learn timelines and patterns for when internet usage was at its highest.

Zerbe said businesses will likely be the first to receive broadband internet service. Higher bandwidth is necessary for doing business. He said the internet and cloud-based service make it possible for small businesses to compete. They need the online precesses to sell products or services and a high bandwidth to match it.

Zerbe said expanding Gig-speed service across their service area will take time, but a pilot program was already started in New Ulm.

Martin Luther College (MLC) is already receiving the Gig-speed service. There are few colleges in the state with as many internet redundancies as MLC.

Nuvera will need to continue working with municipalities to plan and bring the service to different markets. The Gig-speed service requires a significant capital investment from Nuvera. In their pilot year, roughly 35% of Nuvera’s revenue went into the expansion. Next year, around 65% of revenue will go into the Gig-speed service.

The legislature is backing border-to-border grants. Another infrastructure bill could help cover additional costs to expanding broadband to rural areas. In the past, the slow expansion of broadband internet has been connecting rural communities.

Zerbe said Minnesota is behind other states in broadband access because it is a rural state, but Nuvera is working to solve this connection issue.

Zerbe said one of the challenges of broadband expansion is communicating the process to residents. “We want people to know what we’re doing before we start digging in their yards or streets to create broadband connections,” he said.

“We want to tell them why we’re doing it,” Zerbe said. “Gig-speed internet helps the economy and helps the community to compete.”

There is also added value on homes. The National Association of Realtors said the value of a home increases by 3.1% if it is connected to Gig-speed internet.

Nuvera’s Gig-speed fiber network is rolling out now. Service will be available for thousands of customers in 2022. The company will continue to build and deploy it over the next few years. Nuvera’s goal is to bring the service to as many communities as possible. Initial buildout will focus on New Ulm, Hutchinson, Glencoe, Goodhue, Litchfield, Redwood Falls, Prior Lake, Elko New Market, Savage, Sleepy Eye, Springfield and Aurelia, Iowa.

Residential and business customers can find out more about Nuvera Gig-speed internet and request notifications about when new service is available in their area by going to NuveraGigCities.com.

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