The Cook County Board is on record supporting the fiber optic federal grant applications of both Arrowhead Electric Cooperative and Northeast Service Cooperative. Now a third application is in the works.
Commissioners were notified on Thursday, March 25 that telephone provider Qwest has submitted an application that includes areas of Cook County. The county’s fiber optic commission met with Arrowhead and Northeast Service to discuss the pros and cons of supporting more than one application. They decided two oars in the water were better than one and recommended the board support both applications. The county has not been asked to provide support to the Qwest application.
The Qwest proposal includes three areas of the county for expanded DSL coverage. DSL stands for Digital Subscriber Line and is a family of technologies that provides digital data transmission over the wires of the local telephone network. Included in Qwest’s plan are two sites in Grand Marais and one in Lutsen.
The expanded coverage areas would encompass the Devil Track Road/South Shore Drive junctions and the junctions of Gunflint Trail and Devil Track Road. The coverage in Lutsen is described as the junction of Caribou Trail and Hwy 61. These areas would include such properties as Cascade River State Park, the city’s Gunflint Hills Golf Course, and the Law Enforcement Center.
While the Arrowhead and Northeast Service applications are for the same grant money, the proposals differ in their approach to providing fiber optic service. The board’s backing consists of letters of support to accompany the grant applications.