Last week the Blandin Foundation hosted a webinar on Digital Inclusion: Success from the Frontline. One of the speakers was Dick Sjoberg, of Sjoberg Cable. Dick talked about their success with offering low cost broadband access to low incomes folks in their services area around Thief River Falls.
I thought it would be helpful for other local broadband providers and communities to hear how and why their program works. Dick points out that while it’s nice to do something for the community, that it has also been a very good marketing project. He offers reduced rates for a set period of time, but finds that 80 percent of those who trial broadband through the program extend their subscription.
Dick has been working with MIRC (Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities) partners. The community has been working to provide low cost computers and training as well as reduced broadband subscriptions.