MiBroadband launches service to Fountain, Peterson, Spring Valley

MiBroadband has launched high-speed internet in the areas of Fountain, Peterson and Spring Valley, the culmination of a project that started about one year ago.

Mabel Cooperative Telephone Company, MiEnergy Cooperative and Spring Grove Communications revealed just over a year ago that they were in the early stages of making high-speed internet a reality for underserved rural areas via fixed wireless broadband.

Fixed wireless broadband service works in a similar fashion to cell phone communication with an antenna on a tower to carry the signal to the customer’s fixed location. A radio at the customer’s home, farm or business receives the signal from an antenna on a tower. Customers do need a line of sight to the antenna, which can send a signal approximately five to seven miles.

MiEnergy Cooperative has placed a monopole at each of its substations serving the Fountain, Peterson and Spring Valley areas. The monopoles are part of the electric co-op’s infrastructure to allow for a broadband connection that send data from the substation to MiEnergy’s office to allow for improved electric reliability.

Those monopoles with broadband connections are what allow MiBroadband to offer high-speed internet service to rural areas that are unserved or underserved.

“Antennas on the monopoles cover 360 degrees. Using tall structures helps overcome obstructions such as trees, hills and buildings that may interfere with service,” said MiBroadband CEO Jill Fishbaugher.

The antenna installations were completed in October. MiBroadband then began installing service to those who were on a waiting list for service.

In describing how fixed wireless broadband is different from other forms of internet service, Fishbaugher explained that fixed wireless broadband has a lot to offer.

“It is faster and more reliable than what cellular carriers can provide. When compared to DSL you don’t see internet speeds limited by distance from the provider’s main office,” Fishbaugher stated. “With cable-based service, a neighborhood shares a finite amount of capacity which can degrade service at peak times. Fixed wireless doesn’t have those limitations.”

The headquarters for the company is in Harmony. Fishbaugher said customer service is a top priority for MiBroadband.

“While MiBroadband is not a cooperative, it is owned by cooperatives who have a history of providing excellent customer service.  Those same expectations on customer service carry over to this business to serve those who have had no options or who have had limited options for broadband,” explained Fishbaugher.

The service is available to people looking for an alternative or if they are new to broadband service altogether. MiBroadband can assess their location for service to help create a customized network from the very basic internet service needs to the more advanced, Fishbaugher said. Representatives can also help answer questions about streaming services such as Hulu and YouTube TV or streaming devices like Amazon’s Fire and Roku.

For more information about MiBroadband call 507-886-6422 or toll free at 866-882-6422. Information is also available online at www.MiBroadband.com.

MiBroadband was formed in 2018 through a partnership of three local cooperatives: Mabel Cooperative Telephone Company, MiEnergy Cooperative and Spring Grove Communications. The three also own Harmony Telephone Company, a privately-held company in Harmony, which provides broadband and telephone service to Harmony and the surrounding rural area, as well as, cable TV service in Harmony.

Mabel Cooperative Telephone Company is a member-owned cooperative with more than 1,500 subscribers in Mabel and Prosper in Minnesota and Hesper, Burr Oak and Ridgeway in Iowa. 

MiEnergy Cooperative is a member-owned electric distribution cooperative and is the result of a merger between Hawkeye REC, of Cresco and Tri-County Electric Cooperative, of Rushford in 2017. It maintains 5,500 miles of power lines covering most of Fillmore, Houston and Winona counties in Minnesota and Chickasaw, Howard and Winneshiek counties in Iowa

Spring Grove Communications is a member-owned cooperative serving100 square miles of southeastern Minnesota along the Iowa border and includes a small area of northeastern Iowa. It extends a 100-percent fiber network that provides local broadband, cable TV and telephone service.