Monticello Broadband

Monticello City Administrator Jeff O’Neill is pictured with the broadband award presented to the City by the Blandin Foundation.


 A state leader in broadband initiatives has recognized the City of Monticello for its support of FiberNet.

The Blandin Foundation recognized the City of Monticello with its Courageous Leadership Award. Monticello was recognized for its early recognition of the importance of telecommunications to its economic future and for its perseverance in deploying a fiber-optic network, FiberNet, that has transformed the city’s technology capabilities, Blandin officials stated.

The recgonition was made in Nisswa at the 15th annual Blandin Foundation broadband conference.

“Thanks to this municipally-owned fiber-to-the-home network, the City of Monticello has transitioned from a poorly connected community to one of the top connected communities in the nation,” said Bernadine Joselyn, director of public policy and engagement at Blandin Foundation. 

“Monticello leaders never wavered in their belief that access to broadband is essential to everything from economic vitality to quality of life,” Joselyn said.

Monticello City Administrator Jeff O’Neill accepted the award on behalf of the City of Monticello.

“Vitality can’t be divided between urban and rural; all communities deserve the tools necessary to thrive in the modern world,” O’Neill said. 

“Thanks to our leaders’ courage of conviction, FiberNet remains an asset in the community more than a decade after its initial inception,” he said.

In 2005, in response to business and resident complaints about slow, unreliable Internet access and overly expensive telecommunications services, Monitcello City Council members appointed a task force to investigate options for the community. In a referendum in 2007, 74 percent of voters supported the creation of a municipally owned network.  FiberNet has increased both available speeds and options for a reliable connection for businesses and residents.

The Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Local Self Reliance estimates that the FiberNet has saved city residents approximately $2 million per year in telecommunication costs since it’s been in operation.

According to Blandin, FiberNet also has dramatically increased both available speeds and options for a reliable connection to businesses, improving Monticello’s ability to support innovative business practices and attract and retain knowledge workers.

O’Neill says Monticello is proud the broadband technology is available to Monticello at affordable rates. The City is proud to continue to participate in efforts for broadband access across the state of Minnesota.

Reach Jeff Hage at


Jeff Hage is the managing editor of the Monticello Times. He majored in journalism at the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire.

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