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Midco will invest $500 million to expand fiber network

July 9, 2021 GMT

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A Midwestern network and technology services provider says it plans to invest $200 million to upgrade and expand its fiber network in North Dakota.

Midco said it’s part of a larger $500 million investment to its network in the upper Midwest that will benefit telehealth, education, government operations and remote working.

Upgrading to 10-gigabit speed by 2030 is a goal that the cable provider has been working toward the past couple years.

“Now we think we can do it sooner,” said Midco President and CEO Pat McAdaragh. The phased upgrade begins in earnest in 2022, doubling Midco’s fiber network to 22,000 miles, McAdaragh said.

Work in North Dakota will begin with a $100 million first phase in Bismarck, Dickinson and Fargo, lasting about three years.

“Then immediately we’ll begin spending the other $100 million and getting to areas we haven’t gotten to done yet, so we’re looking at more of a six-year process than 10,” McAdaragh said.

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More than 25 communities, many of them rural, stand to benefit from the upgrade in North Dakota, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

Midco expects remote work to continue to be an employment trend, sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The pandemic really emphasized two things: It pushed the adoption of technology up by five, six, seven, eight years, and then secondly, it’s going to give a lot of opportunity and a lot of investment in new applications that are going to require this type of bandwidth and this type of reliability,” said McAdaragh.

Midco services 460,000 homes and businesses in six states.