Minnesota Internet provider elbows into crowded metro marketplace

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While Internet giants CenturyLink and Comcast square off over the Twin Cities market, a third operator is now trying for its own piece of the metro pie.

Minnetonka-based US Internet began construction on fiber optic Internet lines in several Minneapolis neighborhoods on Monday, according to WCCO.

Fiber service promises some of the fastest Internet speeds available for home use.

The company has apparently made a name for itself offering subscribers Internet speeds up to 100 mbps for $30 to $48 per month, about half of what Comcast and CenturyLink charge for similar services, WCCO notes.

The Star Tribune reports US Internet's goal is to build a fiber optic network across the Twin Cities in a project that's expected to take years.

However, the plan is meeting with some controversy from the company's competitors.

According to the Star Tribune, Comcast and CenturyLink are complaining US Internet has an "unfair advantage" because, unlike them, it's not obligated by state law to provide coverage to every household in the city it serves.

CenturyLink happens to be fighting that same law, saying that it's unable to comply, according to MPR.

Meanwhile, a CenturyLink spokesman charged US Internet with "cherry-picking" the wealthiest neighborhoods in which to install their services, leaving less advantaged areas in the cold.

Perhaps ironically, the station points out that some are concerned CenturyLink will also employ a "cherry-picking" strategy in choosing which parts of the metro to serve.

Last December, US Internet launched 10 gbps broadband Internet in Minneapolis, touting it as "the fastest service the world has ever seen."

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