CarverLink, an entity of the Carver County Public Services Division, is a publicly owned middle mile broadband fiber optics network installed in Carver County, MN (one of the Twin Cities metro counties) that became operational in the fall of 2013. The initial one-time construction costs for the CarverLink Network, formerly known as the Carver County Open Fiber Initiative (CCOFI), were partially funded through an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Federal Grant awarded in 2010, with the remaining funding provided by Carver County.
The primary purpose of CarverLink is to provide fiber connectivity and its associated benefit, to the County's various facilities.
The secondary purposes of the CarverLink network include:
- Make efforts to provide fiber connectivity to the desired facilities of our public and community support entities located within the county (cities, public schools, transit, townships, primary healthcare and colleges).
- Provide a fiber backbone (middle mile network) that is available to private service providers (such as Metronet, Arvig and others) to deliver high speed broadband services to the businesses and residents of Carver County.
- Utilize CarverLink's fiber resources to make available appropriate connectivity options for other regional public entities not located within the County via fiber barters, sharing and collaborations that benefit the region.
The initial CarverLink Network consisted of approximately 89 miles of the base ring and 33 miles of lateral middle mile fiber that provided last mile connections to upwards of 80+ public and community anchor institution locations. Since its inception, the CarverLink Network has been expanding both our transport capacity as well our physical middle mile network and, as of 2023, has use of approximately 600+ miles of fiber throughout Carver County and the surrounding local area that is now used to connect 260+ last mile public and community support locations.
CarverLink directly provides services to public entities and several community support organizations within Carver County, including the County, cities, public schools, a college, townships, housing and transit authorities, hospitals, and primary medical clinics. CarverLink provides these entities with dark fiber and lit fiber services in the form of internet bandwidth.
In the private sector, CarverLink does not directly offer or provide fiber connectivity to businesses or residents but instead provides the opportunity for the initial service provider in our network, Metronet (formerly Jaguar Communications), to provide services to businesses and residents of Carver County. CarverLink also oversees the availability of dark fiber within our fiber network, which is available to qualified service providers or other entities using dark fiber for new opportunities (open access/open interconnect fiber). And through our open-access fiber, services are also available from Arvig, utilizing the CarverLink network.
On June 28, 2022, the Carver County Board of Commissioners approved the largest expansion in the history of the CarverLink Network with their approval of the CarverLink Connect Up Carver Initiative.
The $10.5 million project leverages the County's existing CarverLink middle mile fiber network to construct over 350+ miles of additional middle-mile county-owned fiber routes to serve defined geographical areas of Carver County, primarily rural, identified as underserved and unserved locations. The project is a public/private collaboration between Carver County and Metronet (the private service provider that won the bid for this initiative), which is responsible for offering access to fiber connectivity (last mile) to all desiring residential and business addresses in the project's service area. This initiative, along with other CarverLink efforts and collaborations, strives to provide universal fiber coverage opportunities to everyone in Carver County over the coming years.
Carver County has created an address search tool that provides information on the county's various broadband efforts for locations throughout the County.
Click here if you would like a little more in depth history about CarverLink.