fiber broadband

North Dakota fiber provider MLGC, based in Enderlin, North Dakota is introducing a 5 Gbps broadband tier to several rural markets in the state. The 100+ year old provider operates an all-FTTP network to several communities across east-central North Dakota.

In a press release, MLGC president and general manager Tyler Kilde cites bandwidth demands from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has more people working and learning from home, as one reason for the move. Continuing adoption of smart home devices was another.

“Technology is constantly changing, and our consumption of data continues to increase exponentially,” Kilde said in a press release. “So with this project, we will be set for the future.”

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MLGC serves approximately 2,600 customers across 7 exchanges. The North Dakota carrier already offers a few gigabit tiers, including a 2.5 Gbps service in some markets. MLGC also has some cable broadband facilities delivering broadband over DOCSIS.

For the 5 Gbps service, MLGC is utilizing XGS-PON equipment from Calix. The ultimate goal is to get to 10 Gbps service, Kilde noted in an emailed statement to Telecompetitor.

The 5 Gbps service is immediately available in several MLCG communities, including a bedroom community of Fargo, ND.

The move to 5 Gbps is an interesting one. There’s considerable debate around the need for multi-gigabit service to consumers. But gigabit service penetration is growing.

A recent report from OpenVault pegged gigabit penetration at roughly 5.6%. Not a huge number, but growing at 124%, more than doubling from a year ago.

“Is there a demand for services above 1Gb? I’m sure this can be debated.  However, with the increase of devices capable of handling bandwidths above 1Gb, it’s just a matter of time,” Kilde tells Telecompetitor.

Picking 5 Gbps as the next tier is also interesting because I have to think all of the hype and growing awareness around 5G may have influenced that decision.

It’s not surprising to see a North Dakota company make news about gigabit. The state is one of the most, if not the most (per capita) FTTP wired state in the country.

This post has been updated to include details provided by MLGC.

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2 thoughts on “North Dakota Carrier Steps on Gigabit Gas by Offering 5 Gbps Service

  1. What debate. This country has not debated anything for 40 years! It’s my side or no side!

    Now what in the heck is anyone needing of anything over 100 meg? Other than businesses, each individual does not need anything more than 5meg. We have equipment and service delivering very low bandwidth levels for programming. With our new OTT service, we do not need anything over 2meg for our 1080p service. For 4K, just double it!

    Unless its the women indicating bigger is better, this is a waste of money and most important, time!
    Then lets talk about what was not mentioned in the article, costs of such service and if the pip-line can even handle this.
    Then lets talk about inside the facility. The most important side of it, is your house fibered? Or even is your business fibered?
    If not, you cannot even handle this level of bandwidth. So it is all mood-point!

    Thank you for clearing this up for the community!

  2. I’d argue that with cloud based backups along with home based backups (backing up data remotely to your house) being the norm along with streaming video games and many new video games in particular running well above 50 gigabytes in size, a larger pipe makes sense.

    The larger the pipe, the quicker customers can also get off of it which means lower utilization so that customers can hit promised speeds.

    I agree that for applications such as lower bit rate videos, streaming music, and general web browsing, 4 mbits with low latency is sufficient for an individual, but with multi-user households, you’ll need a larger pipe. 100 mbits does help aside from when someone is downloading a large file that impacts the rest of the users. Upload also is hugely important as many services are asymmetrical. Trying to do a 300 gbyte backup on a 1 mbit upload is painful and everybody else on the connection suffers for it.

    Coming from 14.4 kbits and jumping to 28.8 kbits modem (my line didn’t allow for above that’s usually 26.4), it took me a while to understand what faster pipes would offer, but once I did, I greatly appreciated that I no longer needed a second phone line to download a 80 MByte file that took me days to download as opposed to minutes when I first upgraded to having a cable modem.

    I’d also have ample overhead with something like this Internet that helps with future proofing and with lower latency, which fiber greatly helps with in last mile latency.

    I just hope that the network along the way of this 5 gbit network is solid. As far as indoors, a simple 10 Gig ethernet network can handle it just fine. My only concern is wifi, especially in highly populated places where wifi hardware “takes turns”, in its current iterations will not be able to take advantage of the speed offered.

    Lastly, I agree that this country has an issue with debate as it sadly turns into name calling and saying something in a way that is slightly out of message turns oneself into the enemy even among allies and discourages further discourse.

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