The morning session was an opportunity to meet the Ultra Hgh-Speed Broadband Task Force and hear about their mission. Many attendees will participate through polling tools offered by University of Minnesota Extension; others will get a chance to talk about their situations or ideas.
First, ADC welcomes us to the global headquarters. (Some folks enjoyed a tour of their factory in Shakopee, where they empty 1000 people. The rest of us enjoyed their terrific hospitality in Eden Prairie!)
Steve Kelley led the session where attendees got to show their opinions through a poll. (Think the Who Wants to be a Millionaire? audience voting – a big thanks to Extension Service for sharing this tool with us!!) There weren’t any big surprises but it was fun. You can see the results in the PPT below.
Rick King led the Policy Listening Session/Task Force portion of the morning.
Panel members (Task Force members on stage) included: Chuck Taylor from Health Partners in IGH. Brent Christenson from the Telecom industry (in Madelia). Kim Ross is the Superintendent of Schools in Houston.
It was interesting to hear from Rick about his reason for getting involved. It’s not to get better broadband for Thomson/Reuters – it’s to get better broadband for the employees so that they can work from home. That would help environmentally; it would help with transportation.
We have infrastructure – road, plans, sidewalks… Broadband should be included. Our infrastructure is out of balance., We need more railroads and broadband.
Why ULTRA is task force name? Because the FCC has ill-defined “high speed”.
The Task Force will have a recommendation for the Legislature in November 2009. The goal is to not to be in the bottom half of the US as far as broadband access/use. We know the budget does not forecast a magic bullet for broadband but it is still important at a State level. It will be interesting to see what the change at the Federal level means.
Craig Taylor: Did a quick poll – some people have electronic medical records, a few had accessed that record in the last 3 months, and one had had an electronic health care visit.
Brent Christenson: Businesses demand drove the access to broadband. They are looking for telecommuters to relocate to Madelia because they can provide Ultra high speed access. They started an economic development agency. Small towns need broadband to thrive. Being on the task force has been enlightening – it’s very balanced.
Kim Ross: There are 22 passionate people on the Task Force. Education will not be a player without Ultra high speed broadband. We can now meet the needs of each student. Technology tools, online learning, helps customize teaching. All of their students now have remote access to class materials. Teachers are enhancing skill and motivation. Lots of students are still using dialup.
Notes on the listening session follow…