By Kate Klimesh,
Work has recently been completed at the Winneshiek County Fairgrounds, connecting the newly-constructed Community Building to the MetroNet, using American Rescue Plan Act funding. The City of Decorah and County IT directors collaborated to get fiber internet to the fairgrounds for this Board of Supervisors-approved project.
Once the fiber was available, Wright Way Computers staff installed a new network and wireless access points in the Community Building, with the new fiber feeding it, along with wireless access points throughout the fairgrounds. Now there is fast, reliable wireless internet services to the Community Building, Grandstand Office, Danan Lansing Building, Show Barn and the stand in the middle of the racetrack where the internet is used to post live race stats online.
The internet service is also useful for the improved security and surveillance cameras recently installed strategically around the fairgrounds by Driftless Security. This will assist with keeping the fairgrounds and its attendees safe.
“Everything is online now for so much that happens at the fair and shows, so it was a good time to get it done. And, I know it helps ISU Extension Office with the 4-H show result reporting as well,” noted Fair Board President Arlin Franzen. “It’s just one of those things, everyone uses internet, even in the vendor area and all over. It was good to get connected to the MetroNet for reliable internet everywhere on the grounds. It’s finally here.”
The fiber offers much faster internet service, allowing more capacity of usage during events, as well as the native reliability of fiber internet.
Winneshiek County IT Director Jon Lubke stated, “The Decorah MetroNet or DMN for short, is a Iowa 28E organization made up of the following local government and non-profits: City of Decorah, Decorah School District, Luther College, Winneshiek County and WinnMed. About 10 years ago, this group came together to build a private fiber network throughout and around Decorah. Through partnerships with the Iowa ICN-Iowa Communications Network and others, the network has grown to encompass around 40 miles of fiber.”
“The DMN members purchase wholesale internet services and also partner with each other at various levels when their technology goals overlap, again saving money for their constituents and customers. The group also partners with other non-profits like the Winneshiek County Agricultural Association. This connection is now being used to provide free internet to the public throughout the fairground facilities.”