A sneak peek at the Broadband Task Force recommendations

Here are two opportunities to get involved with the Minnesota Ultra High-Speed Broadband Task Force work. I love that they are so transparent and open to feedback; I hope we can rise to the occasion to tell them what we need.

This month the task force is working on setting some suggested broadband speeds for the state and they have explicitly asked for our help. I’ll paste the request/opportunity below.

The Speed Team sub-group met today and is making good progress.
However, we need help from all Task Force members to really do justice to our assignment. We’ve agreed that we need to go out to subject- matter experts (both on and off the Task Force) and get their help in updating the application-speed-requirements listed in the recent California broadband study. Here are the questions we need help on.

Please review the California Application-Speed Matrix


1 – In your area of expertise (education, government, business, consumer-use, etc.) do you feel that these are still accurate for present-day applications?
2 – What would you project these speed-requirements will be in 2015, and what is the basis for your projection?
3 – Are there applications that are missing from this list, and if so what speeds would they require both today and in 2015?

We would like to have your answers by Friday, June 5th so that we can incorporate your work into ours.

Thanks in advance,

The Speed Team — Tom Garrison, Jack Geller, JoAnne Johnson, Mike O’Connor, Dick Sjoberg, John Stanoch and Chris Swanson

In April, the task force members were asked to write 5 paragraphs to build a draft recommendations document for the legislature. I am super excited to share these paragraphs here.

 If you read the paragraphs you’ll see that they are a work in progress. Some paragraphs are completely contrary to others – but you can get a read for where there is agreement and what the contentious issues are. (There may not be agreement in some of these areas but there were no paragraphs to contradict the view.) I think this is also a golden opportunity to chime in on what you like and what you don’t like. Remember they invite comments from the public at their monthly sessions and you can post comments on their forum or via form online.

Issues of Agreement

  • Everyone seems to value broadband and there were some nice paragraphs detailing need by sector.
  • Everyone seemed to think that building broadband demand through training and improved access to computer was a good idea.
  • Most everyone liked the idea of mapping. The broadband providers seemed to be happiest with Connected Nation’s work; some were not happy with their work; others wanted to ask CN to the maps to the next level of gauging citizen’s relationship to broadband.
  • Everyone seemed to agree that affordability was a good idea – so long as cost to providers was a factor too.
  • Everyone seemed to like te idea of an ongoing state effort to focus on broaband – often through the creation of a entity to oversee the effort.
  • It seems as if everyone was interested in secure, reliable, redundant connections with improved interconnectivity – including a focus by some for better peering within the state to improve local access.

Issues of Disagreement

  • Some people seemed to think of broadband as a necessity or utility: Jack Geller, Peg Werner, Vijay Sethi, Mike O’Connor, Barbara Gervais, while others were more interested in meeting market demand only.
  • Most supported government intervention (even municipal networks) in areas where private companies are not interested in going. Some seemed to think of this as a plan of last resort: Rick King, John Gibbs, Peg Werner
  • Others were supportive of government providing service: Chris Swanson, Vijay Sethi, Robyn West, Tom Garrison

 Interesting notes

  • Mike O’Connor stressed the importance of considering mobile broadband and mobile devices for folks who don’t have a computer
  • They allude to a few Minnesota broadband reports (pages 16-19), both historical and kind of recent. I was surpised that more reports and statistics weren’t used. Although the following folks did mention reports: Dick Sjoberg (S. Walsten, “Understanding International Broadband Comparisons“); John Gibbs (Crandall & Jackson) and actually John cited quite a few on page 23), Mike O’Connor cites reports for projected market bandwidth (page 28), Kim Ross (SETDA
  • Some folks mentioned speed – but those were all over the board. One said T1 – others seemed to start at 5mbps or higher. The speed offered seemed to coincide with whether someone thought the current market demand should set price or we should strive for world class access. (Some folks, such as Steve Crawley jumped in with a minimum speed of 100mbps – Go Steve!))
  • Jack Reis and Gopal Khanna did a nice piece on government as a broadband consumer and increased need for connected citizenry as the government provides more services online. Kim Ross did a similar write up with the education focus and MaryEllen Wells for healthcare.
  • OK clearly I have to point out that Blandin was mention on page 19 in a nice historical look back at what has been done in the state regarding broadband.

The paragraphs are long. I’ve done my best to distill them. I think there are some interesting comments on Net Neutrality, the role of a Better Business Bureau type model to service broadband customers, possibility of federal funding – but I didn’t yet see consensus on those topics so I’m only mnetioning them briefly.

1 thought on “A sneak peek at the Broadband Task Force recommendations

  1. Pingback: Mapping debates on Connected Nation continue « Blandin on Broadband

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