Final Minnesota Ultra High-Speed Task Force Meeting: A Consensus

blog_taskforceToday was the final Task Force meeting. The recommendations will be published one week from today. Six months ago, I wasn’t so sure that this report was going to be finished in time. But it is. One of the most impressive aspects of the task force and the recommendations has been that they have been reached through consensus.

Today one member defined consensus as that means none of us agreed with everything – but it also means that everyone at least agreed enough to consent. Attending the meetings has been a study in consensus and collaboration. There was only one time where it felt like the conversation dipped into unfriendly tones – despite the fact that the topics covered were often close to the hearts of the members and the opinions were at polar ends of the spectrum.

There weren’t any actual votes on issues. To gauge support for an issue they did informal hand count and talked through potential hot buttons until they reached an solution that stood somewhere in the middle.

Some members would like to have seen higher speeds promoted, some people aren’t as interested in an ongoing broadband entity, others supported a strong statement of symmetry – but they compromised.

Here are the notes from the last session:
The Task Force has worked with consensus. Today should be a day for combing through to make sure that we agree with what’s in the report – and that shouldn’t be a stretch since we’ve been working with consensus.

There has been compromise. There are areas where each of us might feel we’ve gone too far or not far enough – but that’s part of compromise.
• Primary interest is connectivity for students. I think the report accomplishes it. There was a nice paragraph on this – we ‘ll want to put back in.
• There are some grammar changes
• Need available, affordable access
• print is small on map pages – because the maps come from the Connected Nation wall maps
• Did we take out the idea of having a staff to support broadband? No, just moved.
• Need to post archived reports on the Task Force web site; Mike O will be adding a report from the MCA in 1985
• Changed titles and corrected names
• Question on symmetry – did we want to add a sentence? Didn’t we have a sentence?
• We had talked about bonding as a possible funding issue – should we pull that out in the exec summary
• Add Minnesota ranking to charts where MN isn’t included – or otherwise find a way to call out the comparison to MN – that opens a can of worms in regard to quality of reports. Per capita stats can be misleading
• There is some concern about how the report will read to urban legislators. Perhaps we should have had a session in Frogtown.
o One concern is that the urban areas tend to have access to broadband but affordability and computer ownership are the issues.
o Broadband access doesn’t necessarily mean access for a community
• Need to get folks to recognize that broadband is available for communications and as a way to transport goods and services. Adding that spin will help garner support from the transportation folks. “BB access to the Internet has traditionally been communications; the TF has come to understand that the Internet can also be thought of as part of our transportation infrastructure.
• Most legislators will read the cover letter and the executive summary.
• What about adding fixed wireless? It’s growing especially in rural areas.
• Maybe we need to explain what IP address per capita would matter.
• We trash the FCC and state our minimum speed is 10 Mbps at 2015; we need to make sure that we add that year.
• Do we expect to see a map of access in the future?
• Spin the trashing of the FCC and try to be more encouraging.
• We should have built in MN’s early leadership with such things as gopher
• Page 60 – add the Blandin quote. Their response to the recommendations was quite good. (That’s a direct quote.) “The Blandin Foundation appreciates the hard work…”
• The pictures are from Minnesota.
• This is definitely a consensus report; although I disagree with having an ongoing board
• Maybe there’s a way to indicate the nature of consensus means no one member agrees with every portion
• We need to cite sources so that legislators realize that we did not come up with them – especially when it comes to projections

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

About Ann Treacy

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

1 thought on “Final Minnesota Ultra High-Speed Task Force Meeting: A Consensus

  1. Pingback: Minnesota Broadband Task Force Recommendations are unveiled! « Blandin on Broadband

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