Ken Johnson, NRTC’s senior VP, Broadband Programs (pictured right), was one of the high-placed VIPs at the Sept. 26 ribbon-cutting for Meeker Electric Light and Power Association’s VIBRANT Broadband service. NRTC is assisting Meeker with construction of a broadband network scheduled for completion in 2019.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony in Litchfield, MN, consisted of Johnson, who was the administrator of the Rural Utilities Service when Meeker Light and Power was gathering funding for the project, and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz (pictured left) going up a wireless tower to a sign shaped like the state of Minnesota with the word VIBRANT spread across. They jointly lit the sign when the ceremony emcee asked, “Are you ready to make Minnesota VIBRANT.”
Meeker Light and Power is building a hybrid fiber/fixed wireless broadband network, an approach that ensures fast speeds to rural home and business users; affordable construction costs for the cooperative, and a pathway to efficient upgrades as the demand for greater speeds emerge. VIBRANT advertises speeds up to 100 Mbps downstream/10 Mbps upstream for residential users, with unlimited data and a Wi-Fi router included in the package.
“NRTC Broadband Solutions is working with several co-ops that have chosen the hybrid approach,” said NRTC CEO Tim Bryan, who also attended the ribbon cutting. “We are proud to be a part of this pioneering VIBRANT project, which will soon translate into more efficient and enjoyable schoolwork, business practices and everyday entertainment for thousands.”
“Broadband internet is a modern necessity of life and ought to be found in every village, every home, and on every farm in every part of the United States,” said Meeker CEO Tim Mergen, as quoted in the Litchfield Independent Review. "Sort of remarkable how 81 years [after rural electrification] those same exact words could be used to describe the need for high-speed internet."