A $90 million project is keeping people in North Dakota connected. South central North Dakota has the largest fiber optic broadband network in the nation. Today Jamestown College held a press conference to unveil the project.
Jasper Schneider – US Department of Agriculture: "It allows farmers to get access to real time market information. It allows families and friends to stay connected to their loved ones."
This isn't in the big city. This is in south central North Dakota where thousands of miles of fiber optic cable have been installed underground to provide the fastest internet available.
Keith Larson - Dakota Central Telecommunications: "It can provide video services on it, high speed internet services and also telephone services."
Dakota Central Telecommunications and Dickey Rural Networks embarked on the fiber optic project separately more than five years ago. Today, about 18,000 customers are connected to the network.
Gary Hoffman - Fiber-optic Broadband Customer: "I can work from my farmhouse."
Gary Hoffman is the executive director of the North Dakota Dairy Coalition. The main office is in Mandan, but he can get the job done from his home in rural Ashley, even communicating easily with a couple from Ireland.
Gary Hoffman: "It allows me to send pictures and big files to them because of the broadband and next month they're gonna be in North Dakota, checking out North Dakota as a possible place to build a brand new dairy."
Rick Berg – (R) North Dakota: "We've all the sudden unleashed in your area here the opportunity to compete with anyone worldwide."
The fiber optic network in south central North Dakota covers 10,000 square miles.
For a copy of the Report Click the Link above.
A new report highlights technological capabilities in Dickey County, N.D.
The report, commissioned by the city of Ellendale, helps showcase the capabilities of Operational Security Services Inc., a secure data storage facility in Ellendale. The report was also meant to get the word out to potential businesses about the type of technological infrastructure that exists in the county, said Ellendale Mayor Don Flaherty.
The report, "The infrastructure of Dickey County, N.D.: A cost effective data center infrastructure," was prepared by Evans Analytics, a consulting firm headquartered in Apex, N.C.
Dickey County, N.D., and Ellendale are desirable sites for secure data storage, according to the report.
"Taking into account a resilient, stable economy, a moderate climate and extremely low crime rates, Dickey County has much to offer as a host for a data warehouse," according to the report.
According to the report, North Dakota has one of the most powerful fiber optic networks in the nation and has low power costs. Dickey County has redundant sources of power; has more power than is being used by its population; and has abundant fiber leading to Operational Security Services, according to the report.
Operational Security Services, a service disabled veteran owned small business, stores primarily unclassified government data, including through a contract with the U.S. Air Force, said its president, Dustin Wagner.
Operational Security Services keeps all of its data — unlike some data storage firms, whose data might end up stored overseas, Wagner said.
Operational Security Services "is optimal to meet many of the needs of the data storage for major current and anticipated needs for North Dakota," according to the report.
The report compares infrastructure in the Dickey County area to that in Grand Forks. That's where the main North Dakota university system's information technology center is located, Flaherty said. City officials also wanted to show that Dickey County can handle all of the university system's back-up data, he said.
"We have facilities here that can support what they're doing up there," he said.
California data firm has plans for Ellendale
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A California company may have found a business partner in Ellendale on a data storage venture.
Twin Imaging Technology is a firm from the San Diego area specializing in converting paper documents into digital files. It would like to establish a second location in the Dickey County community of 1,559 people, collaborating with a local data management start-up.
“You have a great IT network out there,” said co-owner Sean Martin referring to information technology. “A lot of it is dark, meaning that it’s not being used.”
The company was attracted to Ellendale in part by a data storage company there, Operational Security Services Inc., a 6-month-old business that manages digitally archived information. Dustin Wagner, who started the company, said he met Gina Martin, who co-owns Twin Imaging with her husband Sean, at a conference, and the two saw an opportunity to collaborate.
Their plan is to employ around five people at the start, scanning and archiving documents in Ellendale, provided they can line up enough customers to keep their people working. They would like to eventually get contracts for enough work to have two shifts of 20 people each.
“It hinges on finding some large projects,” Martin said. “The first piece of the puzzle is to find the jobs.”
There is plenty of information that needs storing or converting to digital, but nailing down contracts is the key. Twin Imaging, according to its Web site, has clients with the military, government agencies, the health industry and other organizations.
“There are so many documents out there that need scanning, including medical records,” Wagner said. “If we don’t have enough work to keep employees working for a year, it’s going to get iffy.”
The Martins visited Bismarck and Ellendale two weeks ago. While there was a level of culture shock between southern California and southcentral North Dakota, Martin said that the low costs, low taxes and the fiber optic capacity available made the area a good fit for what the company does.
“North Dakota is one of the best-wired states in the country, but most people don’t know about it,” Wagner said. The fiber optic network in the state was partly a result of investments by telephone cooperatives in recent years.
The lower cost of business in the state and the ability of information technology to overcome distance helps make a case for a small town like Ellendale.
“Yes, we’re out in the weeds, but that’s the point,” Wagner said. “We’re dealing with power rates that are some of the lowest in the country.”
Martin said that most of the jobs would not require college degrees and pay above prevailing wages. He hopes to contract with enough organizations to get the venture going soon, but does not have a start date yet.
“The bigger the contract we can get, the quicker we can come out there.”
Giga help: California data business might open office in Ellendale, N.D.
BY Elissa Dickey, email@example.com
Published on Thursday, March 18, 2010
ELLENDALE, N.D. - Gina Martin is in the business of helping people manage the hundreds of billions of gigabytes of data in the digital universe - and she might be bringing her business to Ellendale, N.D.
Martin is president and owner of Twin Imaging Technology of Oceanside, Calif., which is considering opening an office in Ellendale.
Twin Imaging Technology is a document management service provider, providing data entry, scanning services, document storage and database development, Martin said. She said a 2007 study estimated that the digital universe held 281 billion gigabytes of data, and the number was predicted to grow 10 times by next year.
Martin's business primarily works with clients in health care, government and prime contractors for the U.S. Department of Defense.
Martin said lower overhead costs are part of what attracted her to Ellendale. So did dark fiber data lines. This term means, essentially, the lines are in place but are not being used - and it means they will move Martin's data faster. That's important, she said, for a small business like hers to be competitive.
A working relationship with Operational Security Services Inc. of Ellendale is also impacting Martin's decision. The two businesses would work together this way: Twin Imaging Technology scans in data for temporary storage. But any data that would need to be stored for a longer period would be stored by Operational Security Services.
Martin was in Ellendale on Monday and Tuesday meeting with area business development representatives and looking at buildings. She said when Twin Imaging Technology would open an office in Ellendale would depend on when the business can contract enough work to keep the office going. Twin Imaging Technology has five full-time employees and two part-time employees in California and adds contract employees when needed. In Ellendale, Martin estimates she would hire five to eight people initially.
"I would love to put an office out here," she said, adding that she's not looking anywhere else.
Last year, Operational Security Services announced that Ellendale was being considered for an estimated 85,000-square-foot facility that could bring as many as 1,800 jobs to the region when the total project is complete. The building would house the company's headquarters; and a business that is setting up a secure mass data storage area for all levels of information, including classified government information.
But this week, Operational Security Services President Dustin Wagner said because of the economy, his business has instead focused on storing unclassified government and commercial data. The company is currently located in the Dickey Rural Networks building in Ellendale and employs three people.
Operational Security Services still hopes to eventually move forward with the rest of its plans, Wagner said, but a lot of elements would have to fall into place for it to happen.