Yesterday I attended a broadband meetings hosted by Senator Schmit in Pine Island. It was a conversation about how local communities might take advantage of the current round of Border to Border broadband grants. Presenters included Bernadine Joselyn from Blandin Foundation, Danna MacKenzie from Office of Broadband Development, Monty Morrow from NU-Telecom, Bill Eckles from Bevcomm and Stephanie Nuttall from Winona County. Both of the providers and Winona County have received past grants so it was a pretty practical discussion about what has worked in the past, while Danna and Senator Schmit spoke about the priorities for this year.
I suspect that the Office of Broadband Development will get a lot of applications this year. Danna brought a number of new maps with her. I’ll just include one (to the right) from Dodge County. The unserved area is pink. The new definition for unserved (no access to 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up) and underserved (no access to 100/20) has opened up a lot of areas to qualify for the grants. I’ll include the full notes and videos below but I think the best piece of advice I heard was for community and providers to talk about potential projects and choose one plan for each areas. DO as much work as possible – paint a picture of success – have a definite plan. And I heard at this meet as I’ve heard at every other I’ve attended that the Office of Broadband Development is very helpful. They may be your first call for help or and the last call for loose strings.
The application is out now. The deadline is October 2. Good luck!
(There’s also a bonus video on the upcoming education broadband grants – more will b released on those grants in the next.) Read More…