More broadband mentions in the MN election

OK the mentions aren’t big but here they are:

From Al Franken: Improving broadband Internet service to small towns also could help keep young people from leaving for larger cities, he said. – from the Bemidji Pioneer.

From the incumbent Representative John Ward, DFL-Brainerd: Ward, however, named five additional items he believes will grow jobs in Minnesota: Investment in education, the Capital Investment Bill, building roads and bridges with transportation funds, renewable energy and building in broadband infrastructure that will bring high-speed Internet services to all areas of Minnesota.from the Pequot Lakes Echo & Pine River Journal

On a related note – I ran into a blog article from the Rochester (MN) librarian about how legislators don’t get the need for broadband in rural areas. Those librarians are so smart. (I was a librarian, but feel that doesn’t bias me – much.) Here’s what she had to say:

There is still a divide, however. This divide is in the availability of broadband access to the internet. What’s interesting is that many people – and most disturbingly, the people who are the decision-makers – don’t understand that this is happening.

So maybe that’s one reason we’re not hearing much – despite the fact that we continue to slip behind our global counterparts in broadband use and applications – it’s a non-issue. I remember reading early this year a study that found that voters weren’t interested in broadband access. Taking those things into consideration, I am heartened to see any mention of broadband. And if folks don’t think it’s an issue – I’m glad that it’s at least emerging as a solution to other problems.

Actually maybe that’s a very good sign. I think technology in schools seemed to take off when they stopped confining it to “computer class” and started integrating technology into all classes. Maybe we need to quit look at the broadband problem or issue and just keep touting broadband as the answer to every other policy issue.

This entry was posted in Elections, MN, Rural by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

2 thoughts on “More broadband mentions in the MN election

  1. Broadband access is critical to K-12 education as well, and it is important that policy makers understand that such access is now critical to the delivery of education services and management of schools. The State Education Technology Directors’ Association (SETDA), a national organization that advocates for effective technology integration in schools, recently released a report on broadband for education. The report can be downloaded from http://www.setda.org.

    I work for 70 school districts and four public library systems in northwestern Minnesota. I can tell you that without adequate Internet access the students and citizens in this area would definitely be at a disadvantage when it comes to educational opportunity and equitable access to information resources.

    Thanks for your work in the area of broadband to communities.

  2. Mary,

    Thanks so much for the heads up on the report. I’m going to paste the summarized hard numbers here. Why we need connectivity is great too – but I think these hard numbers really illustrate the issue.

    Key recommendations include:
    In a technology-rich learning environment for the next 2-3 years, SETDA recommends:
    • An external Internet connection to the Internet Service Provider of 10 Mbps per 1,000 students/staff
    • Internal wide area network connections from the district to each school between schools of at least 100 Mbps per 1,000 students/staff

    In a technology-rich learning environment for the next 5-7 years, SETDA recommends:
    • An external Internet connection to the Internet Service Provider of 100 Mbps per 1,000 students/staff
    • Internal wide area network connections from the district to each school between schools of at least 1 Gbps per 1,000 students/staff

    Here’s the link: http://www.setda.org/c/document_library/get_file?folderId=270&name=DLFE-211.pdf

    Thanks! Ann

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