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Mapping fiber Internet in Minneapolis: Where is it and will it expand?

Over the past couple years, Minneapolis has joined a handful of cities that offer residents fiber-optic Internet access, but access remains limited. On the map below you can see the streets where residents can sign up for this fast Internet connection through US Internet (USI). Beyond providing fiber-optic Internet, USI is also the provider of Minneapolis’ city-wide wireless internet. The company landed a 10-year contract with the City of Minneapolis to provide these servcies in 2006.

Fiber-optic cables work much like normal wires, but instead of using copper (or other metals) to transfer electrical signals, they use light, allowing signals to travel much faster and farther. Compared to conventional transmission methods used by Internet service providers such as wireless, DSL, or cable, fiber optic is hundreds of times faster — and according to USI’s pricing, very inexpensive. The average residential internet connection is about 10 Mbps (megabits per second) and an average 3G phone connection is about 2 or 3 Mbps, while USI’s fiber-optic options reach up to 1,000 Mbps.

When I talked with Joe Caldwell, USI cofounder and vice president of marketing, he explained that the main reason USI began offering residential fiber was to help alleviate bandwidth congestion on the USI Wireless network. This led to providing fiber in only specific areas — the neighborhoods that have high use of the USI Wireless network (see map below). Caldwell added that USI does not have any plans to expand the fiber offering to other areas, assuming there are no more bandwidth issues with the wireless network.

Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Kevin Watterson on 09/11/2013 - 09:35 am.

    So then areas where a lot of people are on USI wireless people can get even better Internet and neighbourhoods that don’t have a lot of people on USI wireless get plain old Internet. Mmmmkay. Not that I would pay $114/month for Internet anyways.

  2. Submitted by John Eidel on 09/11/2013 - 03:07 pm.

    I see a pattern

    So basically, Linden Hills, Uptown, Kenwood and 50th and France. Why is the city spending my tax dollars to provide subsidized fiber optic internet to the wealthiest areas of town while leaving the rest of the city in the lurch? Apparently the hoi polloi can go ahead and pay Comcast twice the price.

  3. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 09/12/2013 - 01:29 am.

    Linden Hills (where I live) is not covered

    It’s on the west side of Lake Harriet.

  4. Submitted by Andrew Balfour on 09/20/2013 - 02:15 pm.

    What the?

    This makes no sense. I could get USI Wireless at my address, but it’s much slower then offerings from CenturyLink or Comcast, so I’m going with Comcast right now. But if everybody around me signed up for USI Wireless they might eventually roll out fiber to my neighborhood?


    We have no love for CenturyLink or Comcast. They’re overpriced and underperforming. But they’re both faster than USI *Wireless*.

  5. Submitted by Dan Lind on 10/24/2013 - 07:20 am.

    Yes please…

    100/100 service for the SAME PRICE as I’m paying Comcast for unreliable 20/10 service? Um….yes please. Would love to see USI roll this service out to St Louis Park. “If you build it, they will come.”

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