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DCN receives $19.7 million federal grant for broadband extension

Bismarck-based Dakota Carrier Network has been awarded a $19.7 million federal grant to help extend broadband Internet service across North Dakota.

DCN is owned by 13 Internet providers in North Dakota – and the money is going to be used to expand the Internet “backbone,” and make it more sustainable.

"So what that means to end-users in North Dakota is that they will have more internet access capacity, through-put," said DCN CEO Seth Arndorfer.

Arndorfer said North Dakota leads the country, from a percentage-per-capita on access to gigabit Internet.

"So, if you start running the numbers, and you say 'How much network capacity do we have if every North Dakotans is using that gig?' said Arndorfer. "It really goes back to the DCN network, and our capacity, so we don't become a bottleneck for all that Internet traffic leaving the state."

The total cost of the project is $42 million.

"If we had to make this major investment without the federal assistance, what it comes down to is affordability," Arndorfer said. "If we have to make that investment with a limited number of residents that we have in North Dakota, it really makes it challenging for our owners to provide cost-effective broadband service."

DCN has committed to having this backbone upgrade completed by the end of 2025.

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