Posted by: Ann Treacy | August 16, 2014

Minnesota Broadband on MPR: plenty of listener participation

Earlier this week, Broadband was a hot topic on Minnesota Public Radio’s Daily Circuit. Guests will be Margaret Anderson Kelliher, president of the Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) and Bill Coleman, broadband consultant with Community Technology Advisors and broadband coach for Blandin Broadband Communities.

You can hear the archive on the MPR News site. It was interesting to hear questions and stories from the call-in listeners.

Posted by: Ann Treacy | August 14, 2014

Webinar archive: Blandin Community Broadband Program 2015-16

Check out the archive from today’s webinar on funding and support opportunities through the Blandin Foundation.

The American Library Association recently released a comprehensive study on digital inclusion efforts in libraries – including public access to broadband. Two of my passions in one study – nerd heaven!

The report is a good reminder of the role that libraries can and do play with digital inclusion. And in my experience as a Reference Librarian and someone who has done tech training in libraries as recently as this summer, the folks who forget about the library are the folks who don’t need it. The people on the far edge of the digital divide know about libraries. Maybe not everyone on the edge of the digital divide thinks library – but I can tell you a lot do. (Last year a report indicated that 91 percent of Americans 16 and older think libraries are important.)

So if everyone thinks it’s important why am I writing about it? Why are they doing research? Because all libraries are not created equal. Government Technology highlights the urban-rural difference…

The study, conducted in conjunction with the Information Policy and Access Center at the University of Maryland and the International City/County Management Association and funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, found that cities still fair far better when it comes to broadband — they report an average subscribed download speed of more than 100Mbps, compared to an average subscribed download speed of just over 21Mbps for rural public libraries.

“Fully 10 percent of libraries still have broadband speeds of 1.5Mbps or slower, but for rural libraries that number is closer to 1-in-5,” said Larra Clark, director of the ALA’s program on America’s Libraries for the 21st Century. “That is completely inadequate to support multiple public computers, public Wi-Fi, and downloadable digital content.”

If libraries are going to support all students, all businesses, all residents then all libraries need adequate access – and that’s not 21 Mbps. That make take funding – extra funding to reach remote areas.

Also if libraries are going to help lead the push for digital inclusion then maybe librarians need a chair at the table where this is getting discussed SO for community leaders – remember to invite the librarians. Also to provide digital inclusion services, the libraries need to be open and they need to have training necessary to serve and train their patrons.

One of the biggest hurdles I hear about with local and community technology training is getting people to attend the sessions. Likely attendees are already at the library – seems like a good place to build

Also I think it’s interesting to compare Minnesota libraries with National counterparts so I’m including that info from the report too…

Public Access Technology and Infrastructure & Broadband
Mean Download speed: 23.8 Mbps (MN) / 57.4 Mbps (US)
Minimum Download Speed: 0.7 Mbps (MN) /0.1 Mbps (US)
Maximum Download Speed: 400 Mbps (MN) /3000 Mbps (US)
WiFi Availability: 98.7% (MN) /97.5% (US)
Libraries that would like to increase bandwidth: 46.9% (MN) /66.1% (US)
Mean number of public access computers/laptops: 12.4 (MN) /19.8 (US)
Patrons experience wait time for public access computers: 14.7% (MN) /35.9% (US)
Technology Services for Patron Use
Databases: 100.0% (MN) /100.0% (US)
E-books: 99.1% (MN) / 89.5% (US)
Online homework assistance (e.g., 97.4% (MN) / 96.5% (US)
Online job/employment resources (e.g., Brainfuse, JobNow): 98.9% (MN) / 95.6% (US)
Mobile apps to access library services and resources: 43.7% (MN) / 42.6% (US)
Digital Literacy/Public Access Technology Training 
 Formal Training: 97.5% (MN) / 98.0% (US)
General computer skills: 81.6% (MN) / 91.4% (US)
General familiarity with new technologies (e.g., using e-readers, tablets): 38.2% (MN) / 67.5% (US)
Social media (e.g., blogging, Twitter, FaceBook, YouTube): 19.1% (MN) / 58.5% (US)
Library Programs, Information Sessions, & Events 
Education Programs: 100.0% (MN) / 99.5% (US)
Basic literacy: 34.5% (MN) / 33.2% (US)
GED or equivalent education: 29.6% (MN) / 26.5% (US)
Summer reading: 98.7% (MN) / 97.5% (US)
Economy and Workforce Development Programs: 95.9% (MN) / 99.6% (US)
Applying for job: 73.3% (MN) / 73.5% (US)
Entrepreneurship and small business development: 60.9% (MN) / 47.3% (US)
Accessing and using online business information resources: 54.4% (MN) / 56.1% (US)
Civic Engagement Programs: 61.4% (MN) / 74.1% (US)
Hosting community engagement events (e.g., candidate forums, community conversations): 44.4% (MN) / 45.6% (US)
Hosting creation events (e.g, maker spaces): 20.3% (MN) / 21.4% (US)
Completing government forms on-line: 97.7% (MN) / 98.6% (US)

Rumor has it that broadband will be a topic on Minnesota Public Radio’s The Daily Circuit tomorrow morning from 11 am to noon. I’m not sure if it will fill the hour or happen sometime in that hour. But I do know that guests will be Margaret Anderson Kelliher, president of the Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) and Bill Coleman, broadband consultant with Community Technology Advisors and broadband coach for Blandin Broadband Communities.

They’re going to talk with Tom Weber about broadband access in Minnesota – what’s the situation right now, what progress has been made, and what’s left to do.


Posted by: Ann Treacy | August 13, 2014

Webinar Aug 28: How to Apply for Rural Broadband Experiments

Minnesota had a large number of experiment ideas submitted when the Rural Broadband Experiments first came up. This could be a good opportunity to hone those applications…

Webinar: How to Apply for the Rural Broadband Experiments

Hear from Federal Communications Commission representatives about the rules and process to apply for $100 million available in funding via the Rural Broadband Experiments. Sign up for the webinar today.

Sign up to participate in a national webinar:

How to Apply for the Rural Broadband Experiments

Date: Thursday, August 28th

Time: 1:00pm Eastern

The National Rural Assembly’s Rural Broadband and Policy Group invites all rural stakeholders to participate in a national webinar in cooperation with the Federal Communications Commission that will explain how to apply for funding from the Rural Broadband Experiments – a program that will fund projects to bring broadband to rural areas.

Space is limited.  Register now.

Recently, the Federal Communications Commission launched the Rural Broadband Experiments – a $100 million funding initiative seeking  proposals that bring advanced telecommunications services to Rural America. Deadline to apply is October 12th 2014. For the first time, cooperatives, municipalities, nonprofits, anchor institutions, and Tribal governments will be able to access federal funding to bring broadband service to rural areas. This is a historic opportunity for entities committed to rural communities. 

On Thursday, August 28th at 1:00pm Eastern, join the Rural Broadband Policy Group and the National Rural Assembly on a webinar featuring Jonathan Chambers from the Office of Strategic Policy and Analysis and Carol Mattey from the Wireline Competition Bureau, to learn about the rules and process to apply for the Rural Broadband Experiments.

JOIN US and learn about how your community, organization, cooperative and local provider can take advantage of this funding opportunity. Read the full Report and Order launching the Rural Broadband Experiments here:

Akamai reports quarterly on the “State of the Internet.” They have been publishing reports for seven years. It’s a good benchmark on what’s happening with broadband around the world. This year they started tracking “4K Readiness,” which refers to ultra high definition TV. That’s a sign that ultra HD is hitting some sort of critical mass of users – or at least readiness. The report is also a standard for tracking where in the world we stand in terms of broadband availability and adoption.

Back in Q3 2010, Minnesota made the lists. That’s the last time I saw them on the list. Back then we ranked in the following areas:

  • MN is #10 in Average Measured Connection Speed by State
  • St Paul is #7 in Average Measured Connection Speed, Top US Cities by Speed

I’ll include some state rankings, but Minnesota no longer shows up at all – and we haven’t in years!

 akamai states

The US is not sitting pretty either. Here’s where we don’t show up:

  • Top Average Connection Speed by Country
  • Top Average Peak Connection Speed by Country
  • Percentage of Users with better than 4 Mbps Connectivity
  • Percentage of Users who are 4 K Ready

 Here’s where we rank:

akamai us

The US does rank well when compared to other counties in the Americas but looking globally is more important.

And one fun chart from the report that’s more a commentary on the State of the Internet, the chart on mobile growth…

akamai mobile


Good news for low cost households interested in broadband – and an interesting fact I’ve wondered about for a while; apparently 8000 households in the Twin Cities currently take advantage of Comcast Internet Essentials. Here’s more for the Comcast press release…


Internet Essential Kicks Off Back to School Season with Nationwide, Complimentary Six-Month Offer, Discounted Computers and Free Digital Literacy Training for Eligible Families

Comcast Has Now Connected More Than 8,000 Low-Income Twin Cities Families to Internet at Home

  1. PAUL, MN (August 4, 2014) — Comcast today announced it will include up to six months of complimentary internet service for any new family in the Twin Cities area that has not yet applied for Internet Essentials. Families who are approved for Internet Essentials between August 4 and September 20, 2014 will receive up to six months of complimentary Xfinity Internet service. Since 2011, Comcast’s innovative broadband adoption program has connected more than 350,000 families, or about 1.4 million low-income Americans, to the power of the Internet. The program is available in 39 states and the District of Columbia.

In the Twin Cities, Comcast has connected more than 8,000 families to Internet Essentials so far, providing home Internet access to more than 32,000 low-income local residents across the metro area.

Comcast also announced an amnesty program for low-income families who could qualify for Internet Essentials, but have a past due balance. Customers who have an outstanding bill that is more than one year old are now eligible for the program. Comcast will offer amnesty for that debt for the purpose of connecting to Internet Essentials, so long as the customer meets the other eligibility criteria.

“One of the major goals of Internet Essentials is to ensure every child can build digital literacy skills that benefit them in the classroom and in life,” said Jeff Freyer, Regional Vice President for Comcast – Twin Cities Region. “By offering six months of free Internet Essentials service to Twin Cities families, along with an amnesty program, we hope to provide kids better access to homework resources and afford families a better connection to their children’s teachers and schools.”

Throughout the back to school season, Comcast will actively engage with parents, teachers, non-profit partners and elected officials to help spread the word to low-income families about the program. Comcast plans to air an unprecedented number of public service announcements (PSAs) that promote the new, six months free offer, and to focus on schools that automatically qualify for Internet Essentials based on student participation in the National School Lunch Program. Comcast will also continue to offer families the option to purchase a computer for less than $150, as well as provide access to free digital literacy training online, in print and in person.

Since 2011, Comcast and the Comcast Foundation have dedicated more than $200 million in cash and in-kind support to fund digital readiness initiatives nationwide, reaching more than 1.75 million people through non-profit, digital literacy partners. In 2013, Comcast announced its largest non-profit collaboration to date with Khan Academy to bring free, world-class online educational content to more low-income families. Khan Academy offers a personalized online learning experience to students, in subjects from basic math to physics, biology, economics, art history, computer science, health and medicine and more. Khan Academy has provided 400 million lessons where learners have completed over 2 billion exercise problems. Comcast has committed to airing hundreds of thousands of PSAs for and providing significant digital promotion, in both English and Spanish, of Khan Academy and its educational resources.

In March, Comcast announced the indefinite continuation of Internet Essentials, well beyond its original three-year commitment. The program’s impact continues to grow as the company works to expand its national and local efforts to address the digital divide for eligible students and families. Since its launch in 2011 to the end of June 2014, Comcast has:

  • Sold nearly 30,000 subsidized computers at less than $150 each.
  • Distributed nearly 37 million Internet Essentials brochures at no cost.
  • Broadcast more than 4 million public service announcements, valued at nearly $51 million.
  • Welcomed nearly 2.2 million visitors to the Internet Essentials websites in English and Spanish and the Online Learning Center.
  • Fielded more than 2.3 million phone calls to our Internet Essentials call center.
  • Offered Internet Essentials in more than 30,000 schools and 4,000 school districts, in 39 states and the District of Columbia.
  • Partnered with thousands of community-based organizations, government agencies, and federal, state, and local elected officials to spread the word.
  • Dedicated $1 million in grants to create Internet Essentials Learning Zones, where networks of non-profit partners are working together to enhance public Internet access and increase family-focused digital literacy training in St. Paul, Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Miami and Seattle, among others.

Based on customer surveys, we have also learned a lot about what customers think about having Internet Essentials.

  • 98% said they would recommend the program to friends and families.
  • 97% said they use the service so their kids can do homework.
  • 90% said they were satisfied with the program.
  • 82% said they use the service every day or almost every day.

Comcast and the Comcast Foundation have also made significant investments in nationwide digital readiness, training, and safety programs with partners like the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and The Arc. These partnerships integrate digital readiness education into program curricula and offer the disabilities community a better and safer opportunity to access and be empowered by digital technologies. Also, the Comcast Digital Connectors program has trained and certified thousands of youth in Internet and computer skills across the U.S. In the Twin Cities area, Comcast has partnered with Hmong American Partnership and Neighborhood House to host Digital Connectors programs.

About Internet Essentials:

Internet Essentials from Comcast is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program. It provides low-cost broadband service for $9.95 a month plus tax; the option to purchase an Internet-ready computer for under $150 and multiple options to access free digital literacy training in print, online and in-person. Eligible families must have at least one child eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program, including public, parochial, private and homeschooled students.

For more information or to apply for the program, visit or call 1-855-846-8376, or, for Spanish, visit or call 1-855-765-6995.

I have two pieces of good news to share with potential conference attendees in Minnesota:

First the Annual NATOA (National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors) Conference is gong to be in St Paul September 29 – October 2.

Second, the keynote is FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. Here’s more info from their website…

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to Keynote NATOA Conference

Contact: Steve Traylor (703) 519-8035 x 204

The National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA) announced today that Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler will keynote NATOA’s 2014 Annual Conference taking place September 29 – October 2 in St. Paul, MN. 

Chairman Wheeler, appointed by President Barack Obama and unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate, became the FCC’s 31st Chairman in November 2013.

“We are thrilled that Chairman Wheeler will keynote the conference,” stated NATOA President Tony Perez. “He has assumed leadership of the FCC at a time when the commission is faced with many challenging issues. We look forward to hearing his thoughts on the future of telecommunications networks and services.”

This year’s Annual Conference focuses on the rapid changes in the communications industry, the ability of local communities to control their digital futures and the tools needed to protect and advance local interests as we migrate to an IP world.

It looks like a great conference. I’m hoping to attend.




Posted by: Ann Treacy | August 11, 2014

Barnesville invests $3.8 million in municipal FTTH

Great news for Barnesville MN…

Today more than ever before, consumers are demanding higher speeds for data delivery. Many people work from home over the internet and businesses, small and large, need faster internet speeds. Barnesville is responding by investing $3.8 million in a Fiber to the Premise (FTTP) project.

The City of Barnesville has owned the phone system for over 100 years. In order to be competitive with other cities and what kind of utilities offered, Barnesville has a consistent history of continually reinvesting in the cutting edge telephone infrastructure.

The City’s current copper system is capped at 1 megabyte of upload speed and customer feedback indicates we need a minimum of 3 megabytes of upload speed. Fiber is needed to retain residents and businesses. FTTP provides almost unlimited capacity for services such as HD, Netflix, gaming applications and much more all over the fastest broadband connection. In fact, download speeds of up to 100 megabytes will be available.

The project started at the end of April and should be substantially complete by the end of 2014. At this time, all residents should be up and running on the new system. While the estimated cost of the project is between 3.5-4 million dollars, it is not expected that taxes, nor utility rates will increase in order to pay for the project. Instead, it is being paid out of telephone revenues. The City’s investment in this cutting edge technology makes it less attractive for a competitor to overbuild.

The part that makes this project unique is that not very many communities in the United States have fiber to every property. As of the spring of 2013, the number of public and public/private fiber networks had reached 135. As of 2012 only 23% of Americans have access to fiber. In the United States, only one of every five households is within reach of fiber optics. Barnesville will be providing fiber optics to every single home and business in Barnesville, which will give them access to the faster internet. Only 130 municipal governments have built Fiber to the Premise projects.

The fiber optic update will have a tremendous impact on the residents and businesses of Barnesville. Fiber has the capability to transport virtually unlimited bandwidth, which means faster upload and download internet speeds. It is also considered to be “future proof” and offers the flexibility to deliver additional services in the years to come. Since fiber is made of glass and does not conduct electricity, it is not affected by the seasonal temperature changes, which results in greater reliability.

The City’s TEC Manager, Guy Swenson, who has been working tirelessly on this project for many years; Swenson said, “Everything is tied to the internet in one way or another, that trend will continue into the future. A key element in supporting that trend is the ability to provide the internet speeds that exceed demand.” Since the city was still operating on the copper telephone lines, it was difficult to achieve faster speeds.

In addition to sustaining their current customer base, FTTP will also allow the City to also expanding their residential and commercial bases. When asked if this project will be profitable in the future, Swenson was confident that it would turn a profit. He said, “In sustaining our current customer base and growing that base plus the reduction in maintenance costs associated with fiber will generate an increase in profits.”

Karen Lauer, the Economic Development Authority (EDA) Director, is very enthusiastic about this project. She thinks fiber will be key to attracting future economic development. In a recent Business Retention & Expansion survey most local businesses were concerned about broadband speed, reliability and cost. Lauer states, “As we’ve worked with more tech savvy businesses in recent months, higher broadband speeds have been a subject of frequent discussion, in large part because so many businesses are using cloud based applications and software.

Another opportunity that will come out of the project, is opportunities for telecommuters. Lauer said, “The most exciting opportunity with the Fiber to the Premise project is the impact on telecommuters – those folks who are living in Barnesville, but working from home, either full or part-time, utilizing the internet.” Many companies throughout the United States are looking to reduce costs, so they turn to teleworkers. In the future, Lauer hopes to use the FTTP project to attract individuals looking for high quality of life along with expanded career opportunities.

Barnesville has become very competitive in the levels of internet services it offers to its customers. Not only will this technology set Barnesville aside from other communities, but it will increase people’s satisfaction with their internet, but also their overall quality of life.

Posted by: Bernadine Joselyn | August 10, 2014

Finnfest message: education in best investment in innovation

Bernadine_InCommonsLast week I had the chance to attend Day One of the “Educating for the 21st Century” forum held at the Carlson School of Business as part of this year’s Finn Fest. My colleagues Ross, Savage, Jaci David, and Dane Smith and I showed up to hear presentations from Finnish educators, entrepreneurs, and national government experts in international education. It was a very full day, made more charming and compelling by all the Finnish names, accents and ideas in the conversation.

Here are some of the things we heard that caught my attention and imagination:

  • The fundamental value of Finland’s educational system is Trust – of teachers and students: There are no national standards or tests; Teachers have autonomy in the classroom and are encouraged to put the relationship with the student at the heart of their work. Teachers are trusted to judge what is best for students and to report their progress.
  • The Finnish education system values broad knowledge and gives equal emphasis to all aspects of individual growth and learning: personality, morality, creativity, physical health, knowledge and skills. Our Finnish guests argued in favor of shorter school days and mandatory time out-of-doors each day for kids.
  • The key to quality education is quality teachers. In Finland the teaching field is highly professionalized, and a high value is placed on teachers. There are 10 applicants for every hire.
  • Learning can be fun and should be fun. There is great potential in using gaming formats to promote learning. Mass Education programs now are possible: Angry Birds taught 30 kids to code in one week. Teaching kids to code is a powerful engagement tool.
  • Learning happens everywhere; not just in the classroom.
  • At the heart of life-long learning is “flow” – the condition between boredom and anxiety – when engaging in an activity is itself its own reward. (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi)  Flow is highly contagious. Cultivating intrinsic motivation — the attributes of autonomy and competence – helps flow. The teacher’s role is to enable student engagement.
  • Master teacher Miiska Lehtovaara from Tampere Finland elaborated that active learning requires that students feel the situation and information are meaningful to her or him. Humor helps. The right kind of humor comes from respect and a feeling of security.
  • From Peter Vesterbacka, CEO of the company that created Angry Birds, the assertion that “education is the best investment you can make. Our quality education system is having a big impact on Finland’s business success and innovation.”
  • From Hector Garcia, head of the Chicano Latino Action Coalition (?), a critique that the American system is designed to produce elites – not equity. This is short-sided and detrimental in a world that is increasingly interdependence.
  • According to Lauri Jarvilehto, the Finns say: “In Finland you don’t get an A, you get [a glass of] milk.
Posted by: Ann Treacy | August 10, 2014

FCC Rural Broadband Experiments: Get more info

We shared last month that the FCC voted to approve a budget and open an application window for Rural Broadband Experiments through the Connect America Fund program. It’s a big opportunity. I wanted to share a few sources that provide more detail on the opportunity:

The Connected Nation webinar on the topic:


FCC Rural Broadband Experiments Overview – a nice recap of the details by WMX Systems short, sweet and easy to digest. And a conversation they have started on LinkedIn.

Goodhue County Education District is using about $50,000 from the Blandin Foundation to provide teachers with online access to professional development. It will make ongoing learning and licensure easier and more convenient. And it makes good use of the broadband available at the schools.

Minneapolis St Paul Business Journal tells the story…

Whitewater Learning, a startup that offers online professional development courses to teachers, has landed a $100,000 contract with a group of Goodhue County school districts. …

Whitewater has developed a series of more than 60 online courses — the company calls them “modules” — that teachers can take on their own time and use to meet licensing requirements.

As an added bonus, Whitewater Learning is a Minnesota-based company so it’s a win for education and local economic development!

According to the Minnesota Department of Health…

Minnesota’s State Innovation Model initiative awarded $3.8 million in grants to help 12 community collaboratives use e-health to promote health and improve care coordination. These grants will enable providers across different health care settings to have access to the information they need to coordinate care and keep people healthy and out of the hospital.

Here’s a breakdown of the specific grants…

Six collaboratives were selected to receive development grants:

  • Integrity Health Network (Duluth) $65,885
  • Medica Health Plans (Minnetonka) $75,000
  • Fairview Foundation (Ebenezer) $75,000
  • White Earth Nation (White Earth) $75,000
  • Lutheran Social Services (St. Paul) $75,000
  • Wilderness Health (Two Harbors) $75,000

Six collaboratives were selected to receive implementation grants:

  • Touchstone Mental Health (Minneapolis) on behalf of Mission Hennepin Community Collaborative $567,597
  • Southern Prairie Community Care (Marshall) $897,780
  • Winona Health (Winona) $265,950
  • FQHC Urban Health Network-FUHN (St. Paul) $440,970
  • Northwestern Mental Health Center (Crookston) $749,323
  • Otter Tail County Public Health (Fergus Falls) $483,565
Posted by: Ann Treacy | August 8, 2014

Blandin makes Broadband Communities’ Top FTTH Stars list

I am pleased to report that the Blandin Foundation made Broadband Communities’ Top FTTH Stars list – again! Here is a little bit about their selection process…

In selecting the FTTH Top 100, the editors looked for organizations that advance the cause of fiber-based broadband by

  • Deploying networks that are large or ambitious, have innovative business plans or are intended to transform local economies or improve communities’ quality of life
  • Supplying key hardware, software or services to deployers
  • Introducing innovative technologies with game-changing potential, even if they have not yet been commercially deployed
  • Providing key requirements for fiber builds.

Blandin is made its way near the top of the list, which is actually in alphabetical order! It was fun to see other entities with a Minnesota connection listed too (I’m going by companies I know – please feel free to correct my list!):

  • 3M Company/Communication Markets Division – Interconnection, connection protection, fiber management and facilities protection products for broadband networks
  • Baller Herbst Law Group PC – Legal services, public policy advocacy
  • Calix – Broadband access platforms for fiber and DSL networks, network and services management software, value-added software as a service
  • CenturyLink – Data, voice, video, managed services and hosted IT solutions
  • Finley Engineering – Network design and engineering services
  • Hiawatha Broadband Communications – Voice, video, data and wireless services over high-speed networks
  • Institute for Local Self-Reliance – Broadband policy research and municipal broadband advocacy
  • KGP Logistics – Products for FTTH, including outside plant, central office, DAS, transmission and customer premises; supply-chain and distribution services
  • MasTec – FTTx deployment, outside-plant cabling, inside-plant construction and installation, joint trench systems, splicing and testing, systems integration, ongoing maintenance
  • Pace International – Distributor of DISH content, hardware, materials and accessories
  • Suttle – Fiber enclosure systems; home networking solutions; high-speed terminal blocks; structured wiring enclosures and modules; VDSL splitters; data, video, and phone jacks

Bernadine_InCommonsWe want to offer a big congratulations to Senator Matt Schmit, who has recently been recognized as a “Legislator of Distinction” by the League of Minnesota Cities for his work promoting the expansion of broadband Internet connectivity to rural areas that lack access and, specifically, for introducing legislation that created a fund to promote investment in new broadband infrastructure throughout the state. Senator Schmit was one of 12 senators to receive the award.

I have had the pleasure of working with Senator Schmit closely since he joined the Blandin’s Broadband Strategy Board more than a year ago. He came to us like a house on fire to get something done. “We’re tired of talk; it’s time for action,” he’s fond of saying. And act he did. He worked tirelessly on the legislation to promote the broadband development fund.

In the dead of winter last year, he toured the state to talk to communities about their need and used the stories to help create a solution, in the form of the broadband bill. We also worked closely with the Senator on the February Broadband Conference. He did a great job encouraging his colleagues to join us and helping them understand the importance of investing in broadband.

His determination continues. Just this summer he toured Minnesota communities to give them a heads up on the broadband fund. And I suspect when the time comes, he will be helping to gather the resulting stories of broadband expansion in the state and bring them back to his fellow legislators to consider future investment.

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