A Celebration of East Central Energy’s Broadband Ribbon Cutting

Randy Sukow


NRTC representatives had the pleasure of being on hand to watch East Central Energy (ECE) launch broadband service in rural Central Minnesota. The Feb. 23 ribbon cutting happened about eight months after ECE began construction in May 2023, targeting the areas around Braham, Pine City and Oglivie, MN, about an hour’s drive north of the Twin Cities. It connected the very first broadband customers in December 2023.

Part of the ribbon-cutting festivities was an ECE presentation explaining the background of the project. The presentation (pictured above) included a recognition of NRTC and the project’s many other participating partners.

ECE Fiber began construction with more than $14 million in funding from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) in December 2022. NRTC assisted the preparation of three applications for that award. After construction began, DEED subsequently awarded ECE another $5 million, and currently is seeking additional DEED grants to fill in broadband coverage throughout the area.

In addition to funding assistance, NRTC is helping ECE with outside plant design, construction management, network engineering, project feasibility assessment, and project management.

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