Intrepid Fiber expands open access network to Minnesota

Update 10/20/2023: Intrepid reached out to Fierce after publication confirming T-Mobile is the anchor tenant for the Minnesota networks.

The Land of 10,000 Lakes is getting a taste of open access fiber, as Intrepid Fiber unveiled it will expand its network into the Greater St. Cloud area in Minnesota – bringing symmetrical multi-gig broadband to over 44,000 households and businesses.

This marks Intrepid’s second open access initiative in the state, after announcing a similar expansion into Bloomington, Minnesota earlier this month. The Bloomington project is set to cover 40,000 locations.

As for St. Cloud, construction is already underway in the city as well as in Sauk Rapids, Waite Park and Sartell. Intrepid expects fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP) service to be live in the area by the end of 2023.

Intrepid didn’t state who would be the first anchor tenant in Bloomington and St. Cloud, but it said over time it will have “multiple ISPs” on those wholesale fiber networks.

“Our expansion into Greater St. Cloud, following closely after Bloomington, is just the start of our plans for Minnesota,” said Intrepid CEO Jack Waters in a statement. “Intrepid Fiber is dedicated to making high-speed Internet accessible and empowering communities throughout the state. We look forward to continuing our growth and helping even more Minnesotans connect, innovate and thrive in this digital age.”

Founded in January 2022, Intrepid is headquartered in Broomfield, Colorado and backed by Brookfield Infrastructure, one of the largest owners and operators of “critical global infrastructure networks.”

Intrepid first started deploying open access networks in Northglenn and Pueblo, Colorado, with T-Mobile signed on as the first anchor tenant in each city. The carrier earlier this year revealed Intrepid is the one of the companies it’s working with as it begins its foray into fiber broadband.

At Mountain Connect in August, Waters commented that building an open access network “is a very high leveraged model,” requiring a lot of capex spend.

He also said Intrepid’s infrastructure investment has a return horizon of 10-13 years, but “the margins are high.”