Arrowhead Electric Cooperative, Inc. May Apply For a Round 2 Broadband Infrastructure Grant Application

Arrowhead Electric Cooperative seeks a financially reasonable and realistic means of bringing broadband service to our members and our community, including those in the City of Grand Marais.

In conjunction with Pulse Broadband, (http://www.pulsebroadband.net/) Arrowhead Electric has been researching a new means of providing broadband service to each of our members than what was applied for in Cook Counties round one grant application..  A new technology patented by Pulse Broadband utilizes fiber optic cable but enables the fiber infrastructure to be constructed at a cost which is significantly less than what was proposed in the first grant application.  Pulse Broadband’s technology is able transmit over fewer strands of fiber vs. the traditional model which uses many more strands of fiber per cable.  In doing so, less fiber is required, fewer existing poles need to be replaced and repair times are significantly faster.  Even more significant however, Pulse brings a guaranteed service provider of the, “triple play” (Phone, TV & Internet) service along with it.  As discovered with other similar fiber projects, the building of a network in a rural community can be devastating if no service provider is under contract before any construction occurs.  Pulse Broadband’s ability to aggregate its customers and re-sell to a major service provider is a significant advantage for these projects.  The Pulse Broadband model brings with it a guaranteed service provider.

Pulse Broadband’s business model for Rural Electric Cooperatives is straightforward.  Pulse Broadband engineers and designs the fiber build out at no cost to Arrowhead Electric up until the time of the initial grant application.  If a successful grant application is achieved Arrowhead Electric will work with Pulse Broadband’s team to begin the construction of the fiber network.  By working with Pulse Broadband Arrowhead Electric is able to focus on the operation and maintenance of utility infrastructure.  The cooperative receives a portion of each subscriber’s monthly fees to cover the cost of operation and maintenance.  Pulse Broadband receives a portion of the monthly fee for providing the customer service and administration while the balance of each is returned to the corporation providing the service such as Charter, Media Comm, Comcast or whomever else can competitively provide service to Arrowhead Electric subscribers and/or the aggregate of all of Pulses subscribers.  If Arrowhead Electric were to receive a grant and reject it or work with someone other than Pulse Broadband the Cooperative will be required to reimburse Pulse Broadband a fee of $20,000 for engineering and design.

The model developed by Pulse Broadband was successful for Ralls County Electric Membership Cooperative in Missouri.  Ralls County is anticipating that since the contracts are in place for service via Pulse Broadband their first members will be able to begin enjoying the benefits of broadband service within 120 days of the date they received notice of their grant award.

Should Arrowhead Electric choose to apply for the grant it will most likely seek a 50% grant and a 50% loan from the Rural Utilities Service.  Similar to the round one grant application those choosing to receive broadband service will have their choice of receiving TV, Phone and Internet or any combination thereof.  The triple play as it’s more commonly known in the industry has been initially proposed to be priced at $125 per month based upon the initial business case developed by Pulse Broadband.  The final business case will be reviewed by Arrowhead Electric staff and its Board of Directors.

Pulse Broadband is currently working diligently to create a business case, network design and incorporate any partnerships which may be available with the Northeast Service Cooperative.

Pulse Broadband is managed by a team of proven telecommunication experts whom collaboratively have licensed their technology to over 30 networks in service today.  To learn more about their management team and the service they provide please visit http://www.pulsebroadband.net/

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