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Byline: Leslie Brooks Suzukamo
Apr. 18--If the race among municipalities to get fast Internet access truly goes to the swift, then tiny, isolated Windom, Minn., pop. 4,500, is about to lap the Twin Cities.
Windom, 150 miles southwest of St. Paul in agricultural Cottonwood County, on Saturday officially unveiled its $8.6 million city-owned broadband network. It can deliver a blistering 100 megabits per second of high-speed Internet to every household and business in town.
That's 67 times faster than a 1.5-megabit home DSL phone line and 20 to 25 times faster than cable modem access commercially available in St. Paul or Minneapolis.
Big cities like Minneapolis, Philadelphia and others aren't satisfied with their Internet access and plan to blanket their airspace with high-speed wireless signals, popularly known as Wi-Fi, to make high-speed access universal. Minneapolis announced its wireless plans last week. St. Paul is considering high-speed wireless, too.
But Windom chose to go underground.
The city buried miles of fiber-optic cable that carry data on waves of light. The fiber-optic network was more expensive than wireless, but it is more …