Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend the Telecommunications Seminar hosted by Humphrey Institute earlier this week – but Bernadine Joselyn was kind enough to share the notes from her presentation…
Remarks by Bernadine Joselyn before the Telecommunications Seminar hosted by Humphrey Institute, January 26, 2011
It is an honor to be here.
When Steve [Kelley] called to offer me the opportunity to present today, he made the observation that policy discussions around telecommunications traditionally have been dominated by providers. Community voices are largely absent. …..
As fundamental as it is to our lives, technology is not an issue around which it is easy for people to find and express their collective voice. So Steve asked if I would bring into the discussion a community perspective. What I have to offer is informed by the work I get to do at Blandin Foundation as director for PP&E. I’d like to take this opportunity to publicly thank Steve for his service to the foundation as a member of Blandin’s Broadband Strategy Board.
Our mission at Blandin is to strengthen rural Minnesota communities. We seek to be a voice for rural, and to help rural people be their own voice.
We work in this broadband space because we recognize that broadband is really important to the future of rural places. Communities have just gotta be plugged in to play.
The basis of our approach is the conviction that leadership matters. Leadership is about aligning passion and responsibility. Recognizing that it’s up to us to help ourselves, and that, as we like to say in our Blandin Community Leadership Program, leadership is one of those things that you have to do yourself, but you can’t do alone.
So I want to bring the “community voice” into the room by letting community leaders speak for themselves through three short stories about how people worked together to bring the benefits of broadband to their communities. The people we’ll hear from are among the many leaders and community champions with whom we are privileged to work in implementing the MIRC project – a $4.8 million federal stimulus grant to increase sustained broadband adoption in rural Minnesota.
This is our MIRC partnership….. (see map)
The MIRC project is designed to catalyze the creation of a “culture of use” among the 11 participating communities. As the words imply this is culture change work. It requires lots of community leadership, and lots of collaboration. Facilitating and supporting those invisible but critical capacities in people is what we hope will make this work sustainable over time. Our work is conducted within an economic development framework developed by the Intelligent Community Forum.
This Intelligent Community framework – which we think is a very helpful tool — is built of 5 pillars: broadband development, workforce, digital inclusion, innovation, and marketing and advocacy. The community efforts we are helping to nurture address all of these areas. If you build it they will come,” is simply not true about broadband. Just look at our scary and growing digital divide.
It takes a village to build and use a network.
And so to the stories….
The film was commissioned by BF and filmed by Tom Livingstone, an independent film maker out of Duluth.