Strut Your Stuff Tour in Rock County – Hotspots in libraries, buses and camping sites as well as programming

Yesterday I joined the Blandin crew in Rock County (Luverne, MN) to hear about fun activities happening in the area related to Rock County’s participation in the BBC (Blandin Broadband Communities) initiative. What’s interesting is the budgets that Rock County has been able to provide to us; some budgets are actual and some are planned. You can probably figure out which is which by context.

It’s been great to hear what’s going on in terms of getting everyone access where they need it. It’s funny to think of broadband on the campgrounds and parks but the age of wanting to go off the grid are gone. People want/need broadband for weather reports, safety into and in parks to allow vendors to sell items (for example at an art festival.) You can watch the meeting as it happened or read my notes below.

Library Hotspots (Total Budget $3,240) Continue reading

Strut Your Stuff Tour in Cannon Falls – using technology to build a food brand and more!

’m out with the Blandin crew talking to communities that are part of the BBC (Blandin Broadband Communities) initiative to hear about the great stuff they are going in their town. Today we visited with Cannon Falls. You can watch the meeting in its entirely or read the notes below.

Local Food Market – Cannon Roots Continue reading

AcenTek Improves Time to Revenue for New Services by Simplifying Operations with Calix AXOS

For the most technical in the crowd, or folks on the very front lines, Calix reports…

Calix, Inc. (CALX) today announced that AcenTek has deployed AXOS GPON as it expands gigabit broadband throughout its service area spanning Michigan, Minnesota, and Iowa. With AXOS, AcenTek has radically accelerated its deployment capabilities of next generation services while automating and simplifying operations to enable its network to scale. The AXOS E7-2 Intelligent Modular System and SMx Services Management Connector enable AcenTek to use a common operational service model, regardless of the physical technology layer supported or access network deployment location. AXOS SMx allows AcenTek to dynamically drive operational process automation, decreasing time to market for new service introductions, shortening OSS integration timelines and markedly improving subscriber experience. Additionally, with the real-time network troubleshooting capabilities of the AXOS Diagnostics Toolbox, AcenTek can maintain an always on network at a dramatically reduced operational cost.

Senator Westrom celebrates agriculture, rural development, and housing budget bill

The Minnesota Senate Republican Caucus reports…

Senator Torrey Westrom (R-Elbow Lake) joined Governor Tim Walz (DFL) as he signed into law, SF 1, the comprehensive agriculture, rural development, and affordable housing budget bill chief-authored by Westrom. The bipartisan budget legislation, a component of the overall state budget agreement, places an emphasis on rural broadband expansion, invests in affordable manufactured housing and home ownership, prioritizes value-added agriculture opportunities that directly impact farmers, and increases resources for farmer mental health services.

And the details on broadband…

Further, the bill funds the Minnesota Border-to-Border Rural Broadband expansion program at $40 million over the next two years million, a significant increase in the legislature’s appropriation over the last biennium.

“From health care, to education, to small businesses, broadband access is essential to our way of life in the twenty-first century,” added Westrom. “Communities that lack access to broadband cannot flourish. This significant investment addresses this issue head-on.”

FCC Chairman Pai Forms Precision Agriculture Task Force – apply before July 17

Oh please let there be some Minnesotans on the Precision Ag Task Force. And if you get on the Task Force please meet me for lunch after the meetings to tell me all about it…

The Federal Communications Commission announces the formation of a new federal advisory committee, the Task Force for Reviewing Connectivity and Technology Needs of Precision Agriculture in the United States (Precision Ag Connectivity Task Force or Task Force), upon approval by the General Services Administration (GSA). The Precision Ag Connectivity Task Force will perform duties and will submit reports. The FCC seeks nominations for membership on and a Chairperson to the Precision Ag Connectivity Task Force. The FCC intends to establish the Precision Ag Connectivity Task Force for an initial period of two (2) years. Nominations for membership to the Precision Ag Connectivity Task Force should be submitted to the FCC no later than July 17, 2019.

In consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture, or a designee of the Secretary, and in collaboration with public and private stakeholders in the agriculture and technology fields, the Task Force will:

  • identify and measure current gaps in the availability of broadband Internet access service on agricultural land;
  • develop policy recommendations to promote the rapid, expanded deployment of broadband Internet access service on unserved agricultural land, with a goal of achieving reliable capabilities on 95 percent of agricultural land in the United States by 2025;
  • promote effective policy and regulatory solutions that encourage the adoption of broadband Internet access service on farms and ranches and promote precision agriculture;
  • recommend specific new rules or amendments to existing rules of the Commission that the Commission should issue to achieve the goals and purposes of the policy recommendations described in the second bullet in this list;
  • recommend specific steps that the Commission should take to obtain reliable and standardized data measurements of the availability of broadband Internet access service as may be necessary to target funding support, from future programs of the FCC dedicated to the deployment of broadband Internet access service, to unserved agricultural land in need of broadband Internet access service; and
  • recommend specific steps that the Commission should consider to ensure that the expertise of the Secretary and available farm data are reflected in future programs of the Commission dedicated to the infrastructure deployment of broadband Internet access service and to direct available funding to unserved agricultural land where needed.

In addition, not later than one (1) year after the date on which the FCC officially establishes the Task Force, and annually thereafter, the Task Force will submit to the FCC Chairman a report, which shall be made public, that details:

  • the status of fixed and mobile broadband Internet access service coverage of agricultural land;
  • the projected future connectivity needs of agricultural operations, farmers, and ranchers; and
  • the steps being taken to accurately measure the availability of broadband Internet access service on agricultural land and the limitations of current, as of the date of the report, measurement processes.

“It could be up to five years before customers in smaller cities like Fargo and Bismarck can expect to see 5G”

The Grand Forks Herald looks at wireless broadband in rural areas, recognizing that it may be five years before smaller cities like Bismark will get 5G. If we’re looking at five years for Bismark, it will likely be longer for the area two miles outside Bismark…

The telecommunications world is racing to deploy the next generation of wireless technology, called 5G, shorthand for fifth generation. The service is now available in some major cities, including Minneapolis.

The next-generation mobile network will provide dazzlingly fast internet access — with speeds of 300 mps or higher.

But experts say it could be up to five years before customers in smaller cities like Fargo and Bismarck can expect to see 5G wireless, and it likely will be available only in densely populated areas, such as the downtowns, the campus of North Dakota State University or state capitol complex.

That’s because 5G uses very high-frequency radio waves that travel very short distances, requiring a dense — and very expensive — network of transmitters that are cost-effective only in very urban environments.

International Falls Journal says broadband internet touches us all

International Falls Journal posts an editorial that’s really a wake up call for any reader who isn’t aware of the need for broadband. They talk about what’s happening at the federal level…

The United States Senate has passed the Measuring the Economic Impact of Broadband Act, authored by U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-West Va., co-chairs of the Senate Broadband Caucus.

The act would require the Bureau of Economic Analysis to conduct a study of the effects of the digital economy and the adoption of broadband deployment on the U.S. economy. Broadband refers to high-speed Internet access that is always on and faster than the traditional dial-up access.

The state level…

The Minnesota Legislature approved and Gov. Tim Walz signed into law a $40 million investment over the next two years in the Border-to-Border Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program.

The grants will be used to help connect thousands of Minnesotans who do not have adequate broadband services.

And the local level…

And locally, the Koochiching Technology Initiative, which is tapped into the Blandin Broadband Communities program, has awarded $23,000 in grants to local projects that will build upon the idea that broadband internet must be accessible and affordable to us all.

And recognize the importance…

Clearly, broadband internet touches us all, whether we know it or not, and whether we want it or not.

That’s why it’s crucial that we all — main street business owners, farmers, rural health care workers and children doing homework — have the ability to connect.