Jack Geller Op-Ed in Hutchinson Leader

Yesterday the Hutchinson Leader published an op-ed by Jack Geller, President of the Center for Rural Policy and Development. Jack talked about the three main driving forces behind recent broadband in rural Minnesota: personal entertainment, business and commerce, and public services.

I was lucky enough to talk to Jack about this last month (read more here) but I was interested to learn in this article that in 2006 as much as 70 percent of rural businesses reported that they purchased goods or services online.

Jack talks about this is the first year that broadband users seem to do different tasks than dialup users. In years past broadband and dialup users claimed to do the tasks – broadband users just did them faster.

Minnesota School Districts by Telecom Access

MN Map School DistrcitsI am so excited to be able to share this Minnesota Map of School Districts by Telecommunications Access.

The quick story is that I contacted my old friend Dan Boehlke from TIES for an upcoming article on Internet II for the April eNews. He had just received an email from Dale Carrison of Project Socrates with this map and Dale was kind enough to let me share it on the blog.

The map shows all of the Minnesota school districts and whether or not they belong to a telecom region/cooperative/cluster, and, if so, which region/cooperative/cluster. Apparently a few (4-5) of the districts without affiliations are in discussions with a provider; and 10-12 of the districts are talking about forming a telecom cooperative.

As Dale said in his original email, “As a state, we are certainly moving in the right direction to once again have a K-12 Education and Public Library Learning (and reference and research) Network of Minnesota that interfaces (actually integrates) with the Higher Education Learning Network of Minnesota.”

The map was created with help from the Minnesota Department of Education.

I think it’s very helpful to look at the map to see what is going on with the schools. For a very short time I was actually a computer teacher for a school in Minneapolis. Our biggest challenge was access to working computers and the Internet. I went in thinking we’d be bale to do some really neat things and two weeks into it I just prayed that that I could turn on all of the computers. So it’s nice to see the progress with access – and it was fun to hear from Dan about some of the new technology applications in the schools, but I’ll save that info for eNews.

PacktFront Gets Red Herring Award

We are pleased to report that our friends at PacketFront recently received a Red Herring 100 Europe award.

Red Herring is a publication that features innovative and entrepreneurial technology. Receiving a Red Herring award is a pretty big deal as they really pay attention to what folks are doing and how well they’re doing it.

Matt WengerPacketFront is recognized as being a pioneer in open-access broadband networking. They provide technology to support open access networking and they support a very entrepreneurial approach to providing an open network to a community. PacketFront promotes an approach that provides a profit-sharing type model between the open network provider and providers who support end customers.

It’s a model based on a rising tide lifting all boats – that’s my description not theirs. They’re more eloquent than that. Recently the Blandin Foundation hosted Matt Wenger from PacketFront in Minnesota. We blogged about his visit last week. (You can learn more about the PacketFront award on their web site.)

You can get a complete list of Red Herring winners from their press release.

Online Seminar from Muniwireless April 14

MuniwirelessIt looks as if Muniwireless is hosting an online seminar series with Ruckus Wireless on April 24. They don’t have many details available yet – but apparently they have held similar events in the past that they are been well received. They indicate that this won’t be a sales pitch but will focus more on an opportunity to learn and ask questions.

Ruckus,  according to their web site, is “a new breed of wireless home service management”. Admittedly I could use that – actually I could use any help to get a wireless network through the thick walls of my old, sturdy house!

HP Grants in Microenterprise Development

I just heard about this program through the email grapevine. I thought that there might be readers who would qualify and/or could spread the word.

HP is offering grants of HP mobile technology and cash to microenterprise development agencies and programs located in the US, through its 2007 HP US Microenterprise Development Program. Up to 40 grants, each valued at $56,000, will be awarded to nonprofit organizations and higher education institutions that provide start-up assistance, business training, access to capital, and advice to entrepreneurs and very small businesses in low-income communities.Good luck!

The deadline for submitting an application for is Tuesday, June 5, 2007, 5 pm. Good luck!

HF2107 – Statewide Broadband Policy

OK I have been trying to make time all day to blog about the bill introduced today during the Telecommunications Regulation and Infrastructure Committee meeting. Before they delved into the statewide cable franchising bill, Representative Masin introduced HF 2107, Telecommunications goals provided, and broadband policy director and advisory board established.fiber optics

The goal of the bill appears to be threefold:

  1. Provide 1 gigabit/sec (Gbit) to everyone
  2. Provide it by 2015
  3. Establish a broadband policy director and advisory board

The meeting is available online and/or you can read on for my notes of this topic from the  meeting. Continue reading

Public Information You Thought Was Private at CSC on March 26

College of St CatherineThe Graduate Library Science Department at the College of St Catherine has free, interesting programs on Monday nights. I thought the program on March 26 would be of interest to some blog readers:

Public Information You Thought Was Private. Panelists include: Robbie LaFleur (Legislative Reference Library); Karla Gedell and Anita Anderson (Minnesota Attorney General’s Library); Robert Horton (Minnesota Historical Society) and Randi Madisen (Minnesota State Law Library)

Time: 7:00 – 8:30
Date: March 26
Place: College of St Catherine 2004 Randolph Ave St Paul MN 55105
Coeur de Catherine Building 355 (directions & campus maps)

These are some super sharp people – after all they’re librarians! I am a graduate of the program and occassional adjunct faculty but even if I weren’t I’d love this topic. I am hoping to go – if you are a regular Blandin on Broadband reader and would be interested in notes from the meeting – please let me know and that might help me get motivated on Monday to get over to the campus to take notes for you. (It’s easy to say on a sunny Friday that I’ll want to go – tougher to actually get going when the time comes on Monday.)