TechND, in cooperation with private and public sector stakeholders, launched the Dakota Fiber Initiative (DFI) in October 2013. The objective is to “provide affordable, world-class internet speed and reliability to every individual in the state of North Dakota.” DFI was rolled out during the 2013 State of Technology event, hosted by Senator Hoeven and the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber, when Doug Burgum shared his vision for North Dakota to have the highest speed and greatest bandwidth internet infrastructure in the world by 2015 through partnerships with the public and private sector.
TechND championed the initiative given its infrastructure development goal of working for affordable access to state-of-the-art voice, video and data service for all North Dakotans. In addition, TechND is a statewide entity that represents both the supply and demand side of the broadband issue. TechND, in cooperation with private and public sector stakeholders, launched the Dakota Fiber Initiative in October 2013 to ensure the state remains at the top of the nation in broadband availability, speed and affordability.
At the onset of the initiative, we knew North Dakota had significant bandwidth coverage across the state. However, initial discussions pointed to the issues of inadequate speed, affordability of adequate speed, and assurance that capacity can meet future demands. Both broadband supply and demand data existed, but there was a need to compile the existing information, identify gaps in coverage, and address affordability issues.
The state’s telecommunications providers rose to the Dakota Fiber Initiative challenge and have done an outstanding job in providing broadband to North Dakotans. The state ranks:
- #1 in the country for providing high-speed fiber optic access. (USDA Rural Development)
- #3 for its share of residents with access to gigabit-speed upload and download service at 58 percent. (Federal Communications Commission)
Since the Dakota Fiber Initiative kicked off, numerous telecommunications providers have announced rollout of gigabit services to their constituents within the next several years, which will provide North Dakota with a competitive edge. Benefits of this broadband connectivity include the ability for businesses to compete globally, schools to provide distance learning opportunities, remote health care consultations to occur, and personal connections to be enhanced.