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Midco continues work on $30 million project in Stutsman County

Midcontinent Communications offers service to more than 400 communities in the Upper Midwest.

JSSP Stutsman County News
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JAMESTOWN – Midcontinent Communications is continuing work on an ongoing $30 million project to provide fiberoptic lines and service throughout key areas in Stutsman County, according to Justin Forde, vice president of government relations for Midco.

Midco was granted a franchise agreement in 2021 with the city of Jamestown to construct, maintain and operate a telecommunication system for use in the city.

“This work is already beginning,” Forde said. “The major fiber lines … we are trying to hit all the key areas throughout the county on our way in here both from the north and from the east.”

Forde said raw fiber is going through the Spiritwood Energy Park Association’s industrial park at Spiritwood.

“We’re running the big fiber pipes from the Valley City area over to here,” he said.

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At the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. Board of Directors meeting on Monday, Nov. 14, Forde said his role with Midco is to help companies understand what Midco’s data centers mean for them and what it will take to consider moving some of their computer assets into one of Midco’s data centers.

“So these are hardened facilities that run 24/7 that make computer data available to companies at all times which is usually important to those people,” he said.

He said Midco is a regional fiberoptic provider that wants to provide service to all homes and businesses throughout the Upper Midwest.

“We do currently offer fixed wireless service here in Jamestown so there are areas around the city of Jamestown that already have access to 100/20 megabits per seconds today,” he said.

The fixed wireless service is for rural areas of Stutsman County, said Steve Johnson, director of business development-communities for Midco.

“Some areas it’s part of the Connect America Program and others it’s just to leverage and continue to grow that,” he said. “ … Instead of a mobile network where you are carrying your phone around, it’s wireless intended to your business or your residence.”

Forde said a high-speed wireless service could be used if a grain dryer or a drain-tile pumping station needs to be hooked up.

He said Midco is making a $500 million investment to transform the company’s existing network and to expand its fiber network. He said the goal is to deliver 10 gigabit speeds in the Jamestown area.

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“Jamestown was the key community for Midco,” he said. “We have many customers here from a wholesale and business perspective that have when they found out that we were coming to Jamestown already reached out. Many residents are familiar with our services from living in other cities and communities throughout the region.”

He said Midco wants to make sure the construction process goes smoothly. He said Midco will try to notify everyone when the company will be working in certain areas in and around Jamestown.

If construction goes well, he expects about 5,000 to 7,000 homes will have access to service next year and the remainder will have access the following year.

He said the company wants to help repair lawns if they get messed up throughout the construction process.

Midco will look to hire local people, Forde said. Initially, Midco will hire about five to seven employees to work in Jamestown, but that number could grow.

“We will probably start and that will be depending on how well we do here in terms of how many trucks and guys you need and how fast that grows,” he said. “Most of the communities that we serve of this size, you might have between five and 85 employees throughout the Upper Midwest depending upon the city, the region they serve, how many communities they have around there.”

Midco also looks to give back to the communities it serves, Forde said. He said the Midco Foundation gives back about $250,000 annually back to the communities.

“Many of you are on nonprofit boards and things like that,” he said. “We encourage them all to apply for grants from Midco Foundation every six months starting now even before our services are available.”

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He said Midco offers public service announcements and will look to be involved in sponsorships

“We run ads for development organizations as well promoting Jamestown as a great (place) to live and play,” he said. “We can run that on our video TV system throughout the Upper Midwest, so there are a lot of those contributions that we can make as well to different organizations.”

Masaki Ova joined The Jamestown Sun in August 2021 as a reporter. He grew up on a farm near Pingree, N.D. He majored in communications at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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