This summer, MVTV wrapped up a project that's been almost two years in the making. In November 2015 they were awarded an $800,000 grant from the Border to Border program, intended to help organizations bring internet to rural areas in Minnesota. MVTV added in their own investment of $1.2 million and worked to significantly upgrade their hardware, which vastly expands their ability to handle internet traffic.
Up until June, they offered 5 meg for residential, and 7 meg for commercial. The upgrade allowed them to jump to 10 and 25 respectively. Meg refers to internet speeds, MVTV does not have data caps. Previously, their capacity for internet traffic was 40-80 megs. It took about 15 years for that level to get maxed out. They are hoping their new 800 meg capacity will last for about five years before further upgrades are needed.
There is controversy about whether the state should be involved with getting broadband to where there isn't. MVTV believes they should. Private companies don't have financial incentive to bring internet to rural areas because there isn't enough of a customer base to support the cost of setting up the infrastructure. That's where grants come in.
MVTV prides itself on "going to where people aren't." They have been working with small organizations and non-profits to improve their experiences. For example, getting internet to the fairgrounds so 4H judging can be done online. Baseball fields can stream games. They are even working on having wifi at campgrounds. Whether it’s checking in on work or keeping the kids entertained in poor weather, MVTV is always working to improve their communities' experience.