Hoeven, Midcontinent Communications Announce New Gigabit Frontier Initative to Bring Ultra High-Speed Internet Access To North Dakota Communities the Company Serves

Senator Working to Bring Fastest Possible Internet Speeds to Support Economic Growth, Opportunity

FARGO, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today joined Midcontinent Communications to unveil the company’s Gigabit Frontier Initiative, a new multi-year plan to bring ultra-high-speed Internet access to approximately 600,000 homes and businesses in the Upper Midwest. Midco’s 7,600-mile, high-capacity fiber network will provide speeds five times faster than the company’s current best and 35 times faster than the average high-speed Internet access in America.

The Gigabit Frontier Initiative is another step forward in bringing low-cost, high-speed internet access to all North Dakotans, the goal of the Dakota Fiber Initiative (DFI). The DFI arose out of a challenge made by Doug Burgum during the 2013 State of Technology Conference in Fargo, which Hoeven and the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce sponsor annually.

“The Gigabit Frontier Initiative and others like it will bring the kind of Internet speeds to our state that will empower businesses in the Red River Valley and across North Dakota to thrive and grow in a highly competitive business environment,” Hoeven said. “It’s a kind of infrastructure that is as important to a modern state as roads, bridges, telephones and other tools on which individuals and businesses rely to succeed. It’s a model of the dynamic impact our annual conference is having to strengthen North Dakota’s position as a tech leader.”

Hoeven has been working since his time as governor to grow the state’s technology sector, which he named as one of the state’s five targeted industries for growth.

• Since 2002, technology jobs in North Dakota have grown at twice the national rate.

• North Dakota has ranked first in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) job growth for the third consecutive year in the annual U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Enterprising States study.

• The technology industry in North Dakota today contributes $1.6 billion to the state’s GDP, which includes $931 million in employee pay, according to the Information Technology Council of North Dakota.

Hoeven has continued his push for North Dakota’s technology leadership in the U.S. Senate. This year, he announced nearly $18 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans for fiber-to-the-home service for rural communities in North Dakota. These funds were appropriated by the U.S. Appropriations Committee, on which Hoeven serves and where he continues working to support rural development programs.

The senator also served on the Senate-House Conference Committee that negotiated the final version of the new five-year farm bill, which reauthorized and strengthened programs in support of rural communities.

Hoeven is a member of the Senate GOP High-Tech Task Force, which works to ensure that the nation’s technology firms remain at the forefront of the world economy. The task force’s objectives include promoting private sector innovation, creating a business environment to attract leading worldwide technology, enhancing the nation’s competitive workforce and other pro-growth tech policies.