Duluth leaders move forward on Lincoln Park broadband project

Businesses on Superior Street in Duluth's Lincoln Park neighborhood.
Businesses on Superior Street in Duluth's Lincoln Park neighborhood.(Lukas Walls)
Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 3:47 PM CST
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DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) - Duluth city leaders announced their plan Wednesday to move forward with getting more broadband access to the Lincoln Park neighborhood.

The Lincoln Park Pilot Project will bring cheaper internet access to around 1,900 households in the neighborhood by 2024.

Currently, residents in Lincoln Park are paying nearly $100 per month for internet. According to city leaders, their plan would bring costs down closer to $40 per month for broadband access.

Among those at the news conference on Superior Street in the Lincoln Park neighborhood were Mayor Emily Larson and Emily Nygren, an Economic Developer with the city.

Larson talked about the lack of good connectivity for shops and homes within the neighborhood.

“It’s not terribly convenient if I can’t send a text from one of these shops,” she said.

“But it’s true, I can’t actually send a text from some of the corners of this community in this neighborhood,” she continued.

The project, in total, will cost $5.5 million. About $1 million will come from the American Rescue Plan. According to Emily Nygren, the remaining funds will come from a mix of a Border-to-Border Grant from the State of Minnesota and the city’s Economic Development Fund.

“This is a project that would potentially begin construction as soon as really, next year and by the end of 2023, we could start serving residents,” Nygren said.

The pilot program came forth after 1,700 residents filled out a survey, in which 70% of them said their current internet service was unaffordable. The city has launched a new survey, for all Duluthians to show interest in getting fiber-optic broadband into their communities.

“We’re also going to be looking at, into next year, looking at what surrounding neighborhoods are thinking as far as whether they also share an interest in the pilot project,” Nygren said.

The city hopes to get to work in 2023.

If you are interested in the Lincoln Park Pilot Program or want a similar project in your neighborhood, the city says you can fill you a form on their new website, duluthfiber.com.