We have been delighted to hear about our friends in Minnesota getting calls from the NTIA/RUS about their applications. Yet, we’re feeling anxious because we haven’t had a call yet – however I read an article last week that made me feel as if Blandin is on the right track.
Craig Settles wrote a piece on the Gates Foundation assumption that installing fiber networks in 80 percent of the anchor institutions (hospitals, medical facilities, schools) in the US would cost $5 billion-$10 billion. Craig’s astute question was – would it help to connect the anchor institutions and his assertion is that it would. He says,
“In fact, the premise of the foundation’s report — wire these institutions and great things will happen — is in my view a great strategic approach to reaping broadband’s promised benefits. It should be the core for our national strategy, as well as a central strategic objective for those applying for stimulus grants. In one fell swoop you resolve three critical issues: financially sustaining the network, fostering economic development and generating widespread broadband adoption.”
Well, we like to think that the Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities Initiative fits that description and meets that goal. Blandin applied for ARRA funding for the Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities Initiative, which is a plan to promote broadband adoption in rural Minnesota by focusing on a framework introduced by the Intelligent Community Forum. That framework includes:
- Knowledge workers
- Digital Inclusion
Blandin has partnered with a wide range of organizations in Minnesota to provide and promote services that will encourage use of technology. Services include technology training for small businesses, computer rehab services to
get computers in more homes, access to remote healthcare services and more.
(You can learn more here.)