Press Release

January 12, 2022 – Winona, MN – The City of Winona is about to become the fastest broadband community in southeastern Minnesota. Hiawatha Broadband Communications, Inc. (HBC) has announced it will be constructing a new Fiber-To-The-Premise (FTTP) network in Winona, MN.

HBC President, Dan Pecarina, made the announcement today saying the time has come to update the existing network with state-of-the-art fiber-optics. The project will allow HBC to provide faster Internet speeds than any other service provider in the area.

“In 2022, HBC is celebrating its 25th anniversary. And what better way to begin our 25th year of serving the Winona community than to build a new, state-of-the-art, fiber-optic network,” said Pecarina. “This new network will provide service speeds of up to 10 Gigabits to our Winona customers, the fastest broadband Internet available.”

Pecarina stressed that all Internet speeds will be symmetrical, meaning a connection with equal download and upload speeds. Gigabit symmetrical speeds are best delivered with FTTP networks.

“Customers are going to notice their Internet connection will be much smoother and faster, with noticeably lower latency. Higher upload speeds are becoming more and more necessary given the growth and usage of video conferencing, virtual reality, and other two-way communication services. We are extremely excited about this project and the benefits it will offer Winona’s residents and businesses,” he said.

Construction is scheduled to begin this spring. The project will employ XGS-PON technology which, according to Jim Kronebusch, HBC VP of Technology, will allow the delivery of 10 Gigabit Internet services.

HBC is deploying GigaHome Blast routers in customer’s homes so they can take full advantage of the ultra-fast Internet speeds and allow them to manage their home WiFi network.

“These routers are WiFi 6 capable, extremely reliable, extraordinarily versatile, and offer exceptional range. And if needed, our Mesh WiFi extenders will fully cover any size home, and even the garage or back yard” Kronebusch said. “And with our HBC GigaHome app, customers will be able to control their home networks themselves. This includes network security, parental controls, and more.”

HBC’s predecessor, Luminet, was created by Bob Kierlin, founder of Fastenal. Kierlin and others in the community, created the network to connect Winona’s government, health care, business, K-12 and post-secondary education facilities with plans for that network to eventually provide access to City of Winona residents. In 1997, Luminet’s board of directors voted to build a community-wide hybrid fiber-coax network that would serve the greater Winona area and HBC was born.

After completing construction of the network in Winona, HBC expanded its reach adding the communities of St. Charles and Wabasha, with Wabasha being the company’s first all-fiber-optic network in 2005.

Since then, HBC has grown to serve more than 30 towns and cities throughout southeastern Minnesota, with 28 of those being Fiber-To-The-Premise (FTTP) communities. In 2021, HBC began construction of a FTTP network in Hastings, MN. The company also serves thousands of homes and businesses in some of the most rural areas with its fixed-wireless broadband product, HBC Air.

HBC also built and manages the RS Fiber Cooperative network in central Minnesota. This network has brought gigabit broadband service to the rural towns and farming areas in parts of five counties.

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