Midco installation is 80 percent complete, will soon join Cable One in providing gigabit internet service

FARGO--Some downtown and north Fargo residents who hoped to have access to Midco's cable, internet and telephone services by the end of the year will be disappointed. Justin Forde, Midco's director of public affairs, said the provider is about 80...
Alejandro Guzman, from left, Rafael Guzman, Gilberto Gomez Jr. and Miguel Agraz with subcontractor T-Ray in Blaine, Minn., prepare a network node site for Midco on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016, near 10th Street South, Fargo.Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

FARGO-Some downtown and north Fargo residents who hoped to have access to Midco's cable, internet and telephone services by the end of the year will be disappointed.

Justin Forde, Midco's director of public affairs, said the provider is about 80 percent done with infrastructure installation in the city. Weather permitting, he said they hope to be "substantially complete" by the end of the year.

"There may be some remaining areas that will have to be buttoned up in 2017. It all depends upon when the ground freezes," he said.

He explained that service is rolled out in waves, so they'll continue to "light up" neighborhoods over the winter that were under construction this summer.

Forde said one of their biggest challenges has been the metro area's continued growth.

"We have actually put in hundreds of thousands more feet than we originally had planned to," he said. "It's great that this community is experiencing such wonderful growth and we're a part of that growth. As the community grows, we grow too."

Midco was already serving West Fargo and Moorhead when it announced plans in 2013 to expand to Fargo. Work began the following summer in the area west of Interstate 29 and concentrated in south Fargo last summer.

Forde estimates that 30 percent of homes with access have ordered one or more of Midco's services so far.

'Gigcity'

Midco will also soon join Cable One in providing gigabit internet service. Several customers are currently testing the service, and Forde said they are very "close to being able to announce that Fargo will become a Gigcity."

Cable One rolled out its GigaONE service earlier this summer.

Scott Geston, Cable One's general manager, said offering gigabit service was no easy task, but it was necessary in order to keep up with customers' growing online demands.

"We had to do a lot of network upgrades. We spent over $20 million over the last five years, investing in our infrastructure here in Fargo," he said.

According to Forde, bandwidth needs to double in this country every 18 months. From phones, iPads, computers and televisions to entire systems such as live-streaming security products, a home's internet demands are greater than ever.

In fact, internet has now surpassed cable as the most sought-after service from both Midco and Cable One.

"More and more people are getting their content over the internet. It's not necessarily just the younger generation, there are some of us baby boomers and older folks that do stream content through sources like Netflix, Hulu and some of the other online streaming services," Geston said.

The initial GigaONE plan features a 500 GB data plan for $175 a month.

It's described as 40 times faster than regular internet service, but Geston said that depends to what it's being compared.

"I can remember back in the day when we started dialup," he joked.

Pricing for Midco's packages are still being decided, but Forde said packages will be tiered so it's affordable for everyone.

"Gig internet will be affordable. This is not something that's going to be a huge price. Everybody is going to be able to afford gig," he said.