US Internet will expand its optical fiber network in southwest Minneapolis this year, after overcoming an obstacle from the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.
Over the last three years, the Minnetonka-based company has placed fiber under streets in much of the southern half of the city. But its entry into the southwest corner, particularly the Fulton and Linden Hills neighborhoods, was slowed when the Park Board last spring denied its initial application to take fiber through parkland and under Minnehaha Creek.
After working through the year, US Internet recently acquired a city permit to cross the creek near the intersection of 50th Street and Nicollet Avenue, said Travis Carter, vice president of US Internet.
The company plans to start construction on April 15, with a goal to finalize the installation in November.
"We've got Linden Hills and the Fulton neighborhood. Finishing off Lynnhurst would be the areas we're going to focus on" at the start of 2017, Carter said. He said Loring Park and the North Loop are also on the company's shortlist for 2017.
US Internet recently adjusted its rates and speeds. Its basic package now gives customers 50 megabits per second at $34.95 a month, up from 40 megabits per second. It offers 100 megabits per second at $44.95 a month, a plan that Carter said is its most popular.
Down the road, US Internet aims to lay more fiber downtown and then move east.
"I would like us to get into parts of the downtown corridor, Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, over to the University of Minnesota," Carter said. "There's a lot of opportunity, you just need to build it one piece at a time."
Alex Van Abbema is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.