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  • Why is it important that everyone has access to high-speed internet (broadband) in the City of Duluth?
    Reliable broadband internet access is essential infrastructure needed by cities to compete in the global digital economy. The city's comprehensive plan, Imagine Duluth 2035, includes a policy recommendation to ensure high-speed broadband availability citywide to foster growth of existing and new employers and address gaps in the accessibility of the internet. Disparities in access to high-speed internet severely impacts economic and educational opportunities for citizens. The city envisions broadband internet for all residents that is founded equity, performance, affordability, and privacy. Taking an active role in digital access policy and infrastructure, the City of Duluth has spent the last year evaluating speed test information and conducting a market analysis to bring forward recommendations to significantly improve broadband access. The Duluth city council has approved the Digital Access Master Plan (LINK) and recommendations for significantly improving broadband access in Duluth, including the Duluth Fiber Project.
  • What is Duluth Fiber and the Lincoln Park Pilot Project?
    The recent survey of over 1,700 residents found the overwhelming majority believed the cost of their internet was unaffordable. When considering options for City investment, 97% supported a City-sponsored solution. Out of that direct feedback the Duluth City Council approved the Digital Access Master Plan (LINK) and the creation of city-supported fiber infrastructure and the Duluth Fiber Project. The first test of this optional city-supported internet will be in Lincoln Park, with a pilot project bringing affordable fiber to the premise for an estimated 1,900 households and businesses in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. This project empowers consumer choice, with residents and businesses having the opportunity to opt-in for service with no long-term contracts. The project scale allows the City to demonstrate a sustainable future municipal fiber city-wide. Each decision point towards a city-wide deployment will be in partnership with the active engagement of our residents, neighborhoods, and elected leaders. For more information, sign-up for our email updates.
  • I’m interested in the Duluth Fiber Project. What can I do?
    Right now, we are gauging how many residents and businesses are interested in being served by the Duluth Fiber Project. You can fill out I'm Interested Form on the homepage of this website.
  • What is fiber and why is it so important?
    An investment by the City on internet infrastructure must be “future-proof,” in other words, it needs to still be in use many years from now. Fiber-optic cables carry information between two places by converting electrical information from your computer into a series of light pulses. Fiber is capable of speeds much faster, than other internet technologies – and can send a greater amount of information and more reliably. A fiber network also has a significantly longer lifespan than other technology. Because the difference in capacity between fiber and other technology is so significant, fiber will continue to be the foundation for broadband projects across the country.
  • Will fiber be affordable for Duluth?
    Residents in Duluth currently spend over $29 million annually on internet services. Many municipalities in Minnesota and across the country have demonstrated that they can install a fiber-optic network and provide internet access at or below the cost of cable or DSL.
  • What about 5G or other technologies?
    5G is the 5th generation of technology used in cellular networks and refers to a standard for speed and connection. All wireless technologies depend on fiber-optics. Major companies like AT&T & Verizon are now pursuing both a fiber-to-the-home strategy combined with a 5G strategy – stating publicly that these technologies are complementary.
  • How does Duluth Fiber increase competition?
    The Duluth Fiber Project is an “open access” model where multiple private internet company’s opt-in to use the same city-supported network to provide service to customers. This lowers the cost for residents and businesses by increasing the number of service providers offered and consumer choice on pricing.
  • How does this high-speed internet support equity?
    The City seeks to understand how focusing on digital access investments can facilitate greater economic, educational, and other local goals and priorities for all residents. Through a market analysis, it is clear that by offering an open fiber network where multiple companies compete for service, the long-term outcome is more affordable internet rates for residents. The City includes as part of its project design a focus on affordability, and will start by connecting those most impacted by the cost of internet first; something industry cannot do.
  • Can the City of Duluth afford this investment?
    Duluth residents are already spending over $29 million annually on internet services. The average monthly cost for residential connectivity according to survey data is between $70-80 per month, for service that is unaffordable for many. As the internet becomes critical for residents, cities across the U.S. will continue to implement fiber projects. Right now, the City is seeking support for the project through an unprecedented amount of funding in grants, and other opportunities. The Lincoln Park Pilot Project already has potential funding through public sources, lowering the potential monthly internet subscription cost for residents.
  • What does this mean for current internet providers? What if I already have internet?
    The Duluth Fiber project is optional for residents and businesses. Current internet providers within the city will have the opportunity to provide service through the high-speed fiber network and improve their service.
  • How can I ask questions, learn more, or show my support for the plan?
    Public input from residents and businesses is welcomed and encouraged. You can use the Contact Us page to ask questions or share information. You can also sign—up for our email updates here.
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Duluth Fiber

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