Idea Lightbulb Floating Above Hand

Technology Helps Businesses Grow and Thrive

MNwest Entrepreneur Summit a starting point for tomorrow’s leaders

The next new business, product, technology or life-changing innovation begins with a big idea, a spark of inspiration and a desire to provide a solution for a need.

But in this highly competitive, technology driven world, it’s hard for ideas to grow, sparks to fly and needs to be identified without help. For established business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs alike, we all need support—a place to hear from like-minded peers and an environment in which to gain knowledge and sharpen our skills.

I think events such as the recent MNwest Entrepreneur Summit serve—in part—to be that kind of place. And western Minnesota needs them.

When it comes to building a successful, sustainable economic future for western Minnesota, it’s more important than ever to come together and share ideas—especially in today’s digitally connected world.

MNwest—now in its second year—brought us to the University of Minnesota Crookston. Much like the inaugural event in Willmar in 2018, there was energy, enthusiasm and many reasons for optimism. We heard from companies both upcoming and established, small business owners and startups.

This forum brought together regional business executives, aspiring entrepreneurs, community leaders and students. Together, we gained valuable guidance, engaged in networking, shared insight through breakout sessions and learned about technologies that are bringing change, opportunity and possibility to businesses in western Minnesota.

The summit provided students, startup founders and people exploring entrepreneurship the chance to learn from emerging company founders and successful entrepreneurs in a variety of industries, including service businesses, food and agriculture, technology and manufacturing.

5G Being Distributed to Businesses

Linking business with technology
Arvig was glad to again be part of this important discussion and serve as a supporting sponsor. It’s important that gatherings such as this one continue to grow and succeed.

I’d like to take the opportunity in this blog to expand specifically on the technology aspect of business. Specifically, the role Arvig is playing in providing technological solutions to businesses in our region and state.

First of all, Arvig is proud to be Minnesota-based, independent and family-owned. As an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) company, our nearly 900 employees own 40 percent of the company. This ownership makes us deeply invested in improving and growing.. We have a stake in the company’s success and work hard to serve our customers.

Even as Arvig grows and diversifies, western Minnesota—including our Perham home—will always be an important region for the company. Arvig’s roots are here. Otter Tail County is where it all started for this company back in 1950.

Our founders, Royale and Eleanor Arvig, set out then to build the best, most trouble-free private telephone company in the nation. Through the decades, we’ve evolved, adapted and expanded into television, internet, IT and other business services. Technology has brought change, but our focus remains similar: To be the best service provider anywhere.

5G and the future
Arvig now serves communities in 48 Minnesota counties throughout a 9,000-square-mile service area. We’ve made a point to understand our customers’ diverse and changing needs. We realize that technology—high speed broadband in particular—is crucial to success. That’s true for longtime businesses and startups alike. Competing, creating a market, reaching customers and meeting their expectations is dependent on connectivity. We’re working to offer leading-edge services on a network that is not only reliable, but accessible and built to accommodate current and future needs.

Our network is physically diverse and completely unique from national competitors such as CenturyLink. Arvig’s expansive fiber network has network-to-network interfaces throughout Minnesota, reaching more than 10,000 route miles.

With continued investment in network improvements, we also updated our cable modem areas to DOCSIS 3.1, a hybrid fiber-coaxial service. That upgrade allows us to provide up to a Gig of internet in the communities of Park Rapids, Mahnomen, Sauk Centre, Battle Lake, Henning and Hawley. But we’re not finished. We’ve been working this year to continue the upgrades in more than a dozen additional communities.

Looking forward, we see 5G on the horizon. This technology, which is 100 times faster than the current 4G technology is just beginning to roll out in major cities. It will be years before it’s available everwhere, but Arvig is looking closely at the challenges ahead so we can position ourselves to provide the latest technology and services. In terms of infrastructure, it’s projected that there will need to be eight to 10 times more wireless towers to support 5G network speeds and demand. There’s work to do, but we’re ready to do it.

Technology powering business
Technology has the power to bring opportunities and possibilities to businesses. We want to be a provider and a partner.

More than 20,000 companies count on Arvig’s network every day. With available speeds of up to 100Gb on fiber, Arvig has the network reach and infrastructure to serve any industry. From the most rural corners of our service area to the bustling metropolitan regions, Arvig is working to provide internet, phone service, IT, security and wholesale services that keep businesses on the leading edge of their industries.

MNwest shows that there are many companies, organizations and people invested in the future of western Minnesota and want to see it thrive. Arvig stands with them, ready to help make that big idea become reality, that inspiration find its spark and bring solutions to the needs of the future.

Editor’s note: Schornack is Arvig’s Director of Business Development and Sales.

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