ND to see half-billion dollar internet investment

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 1:32 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - The pandemic showed a short-term need for good internet connection.

But many companies and services are staying remote, and that’s making the need for infrastructure more long-term.

North Dakota may be seeing a boost to meet that need soon.

It’s not just a focus on employees connecting to their jobs from home. Midco announced it will be putting in half a billion to install new fibers across North Dakota.

State leaders say this will make North Dakota the envy of other states.

Surrounded by state and local leaders, industry leaders made their case for advancing the state’s internet infrastructure.

There are growing needs now, but they say this type of technology makes it easier to increase speed when the technology advances.

“We have to keep transforming and adapting to the world that is going to be, and not the world that’s been. So, we look to ourselves as leaders and we’re setting the bar,” said Midco President & CEO Pat McAdaragh.

Not only does improved infrastructure help video gamers, but much of the state’s services are utilizing internet permanently.

Everything from schools adopting more online content, to the boom in telehealth services.

“The shame and the stigma of ‘I’m going to drive to one of North Dakota’s eight social service centers and I’m going to walk into that lobby, and I’m going to see somebody in my hometown” was enough to have some people say ‘I’m just not going in there.’ But if it was a telehealth appointment, they showed up. This is all transformational,” said Gov. Doug Burgum, R-N.D.

Much of the installation will be put on local cable crews by putting in the new cables.

Customers will have the new fibers installed during a regularly scheduled upgrade.

Of the $500 million being spent, $100 million of it is going to Bismarck alone.

Midco says they hope to have the transition finished by 2025.

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