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Building the Nation’s Best Broadband Network—Together

By Education, Feature Story

The Broadband Association of North Dakota

Building the Nation’s Best Broadband Network—Together

In 2021, internet providers like Comcast and Sparklight have announced plans to expand their fiber networks and deliver gigabit speeds to rural communities across the country. 

For the Americans who are just now receiving access to fiber internet, this technology is life-changing—affording them faster-than-ever connectivity to family, friends, and the world. But for thousands of rural North Dakotans, it’s old news. 

While big, out-of-state broadband providers are making a big deal about starting to bring fiber to rural communities, the local members of the Broadband Association of North Dakota (BAND)  have already done it. 

Over the past 68 years, BAND members have invested millions of dollars, empowered one another, and embraced the tenacious work ethic that North Dakotans are known for. Together, we’ve built the most robust fiber network in America—and now, customers like you are reaping the benefits. 

When you sign on for service with your local BAND member, you receive more than just internet. You benefit from the shared resources, knowledge, and unparalleled infrastructure that have been built over nearly seven decades.

Laying the Groundwork for Innovation

The work to bring fiber broadband to rural North Dakotans began in 1953, long before the directors of nine North Dakota telephone cooperatives could have imagined what the internet would one day become.

Those original members joined forces to expand high-quality, low-cost telephone service across North Dakota. At the time, most North Dakota residents still relied on party-line service, in which wires were strung from pole to pole and long distance calls were prohibitively expensive. While the technology that we have used to communicate has evolved over the past six decades, our mission—to ensure the highest quality communication technology is accessible to all North Dakotans—has not wavered.

In 1996, this commitment led 16 BAND member companies to form the Dakota Carrier Network (DCN), a high-speed, large-capacity fiber backbone. Today, locally-owned providers serve 97 percent of North Dakota’s geographic territory, offering internet speeds of at least 1 Gig in over 300 rural communities. We have laid over 40,000 miles of fiber across the state, connecting businesses, residents, and schools with internet speeds 100 times faster than the national average.

Collaboration between the member organizations that make up DCN and BAND has laid the groundwork for innovation in our state and served as inspiration for rural networks across the country. In 2021 alone, the member organizations that form BAND and DCN have made extraordinary strides to connect more North Dakotans to fiber.

In August, Polar Communications in Park River received $4 million from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to continue expanding their broadband network in Walsh and Grand Forks counties.

This fall, DRN celebrated the grand opening of their Casselton office as part of their strategic plan to expand service in eastern North Dakota.

Each of these milestones has been made possible because a group of telephone cooperatives realized, more than half a century ago, that they could get farther by working together.

While some of the biggest names in broadband are just beginning to deploy fiber to rural communities, the 16 members of BAND are already working toward the future—accelerating speeds up to 5 Gig, 10 Gig, and beyond. Because when you work hard, and work together, the possibilities are endless.

That’s the power of connected collaboration. That’s the power of BAND.

With Gig, You Can Do It All

By Education

Stream HD video, work from home, even immerse yourself in entertainment.

With Gig, You Can Do It All

Gigabit Internet may seem impossibly futuristic, like flying cars or robot pets, but it’s already here, in our communities.

Across North Dakota, local broadband providers are offering Internet speeds of one gigabit, or one million bits, per second—that’s one hundred times faster than the average Internet speed in the United States.

Gigabit Internet isn’t just faster; it’s more reliable, has lower latency, and offers matching upload and download speeds.

So what does all of this mean for you? Consider how much of your life revolves around the Internet: you use it to work, learn, entertain, shop, communicate, bank, and more. With gig, you can do everything you already do online, but faster and with higher quality.

What Can You Do with Gig?

Stream high-quality video. Whether you’re streaming Game of Thrones or your grandson’s graduation ceremony, with gigabit Internet, you can expect higher quality video without annoying buffering or lags. But the most exciting improvement in terms of video is that you will be able to stream ultra-high definition 4K video at the same speeds as a typical 1080p stream, despite requiring up to five times as much data.

Work from home. These days, more of us are working from our home offices than ever before. And while gigabit Internet is not essential for working successfully from home, if you rely on collaboration tools or frequently need to transfer large files, gig fast upload speeds will allow you to get more done in less time.

Keep in touch. Speaking of working from home: we’ve all been on a Zoom or Skype call where someone’s video keeps cutting out, making it impossible to make out what they are saying. This isn’t just frustrating; it can put a strain on personal and professional relationships that rely on these virtual connections. Gigabit Internet allows for smoother, higher resolution video calls, so you can lead that big meeting or chat with your long-distance friends without interruption.

Online game. With gig, you can work hard AND play hard. Thanks to matching upload and download speeds, the online gamers in your household will never have to worry about losing a game due to a laggy connection again. 

Explore new, immersive media. When we say “gaming,” we’re not just talking about Fortnite and Animal Crossing anymore. Gigabit Internet’s faster upload and download speeds will make immersive media, like virtual and augmented reality, more accessible from home.

Backup your data. From family photos to financial documents, there is so much data on our devices that we don’t want to lose. Traditionally, backing up that valuable data has required external hard drives which can be damaged or misplaced. Gig Internet makes it more convenient to store your data with cloud backup services, like Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive, that you can access from anywhere at any time. 

Support multiple users and devices simultaneously. Say you want to stream your favorite show while your kids are playing video games upstairs and your spouse is on a video call preparing for an important business meeting. Something’s got to give, right? Not with gig. Perhaps the most exciting feature of gigabit Internet is the ability to support your entire household, and their devices, all at once.

These are just a handful of ways that gigabit Internet can make your online life faster, more convenient, and more reliable. But in order to enjoy all these advantages and more, you’ll need technology that can support such blazing speeds. Just give us a call, and one of Dakota Central’s tech experts will set you up with the right equipment.

Ready to experience the future of Internet speeds today? Contact us at 952-1000 or 652-3184 to learn what gig can do for you!