Telecommunication Mergers and the Public Good – Oct 3

Short notice on a good session coming up next week…

Telecommunication Mergers and the Public Good

October 3rd, 2011 from 2:00-3:30
Wilkins Room, Humphrey Center, University of Minnesota

AT&T has proposed a merger with T-Mobile which would create the largest mobile telecommunications carrier in the United States. The magnitude of the merger has raised questions whether it is in the public interest. AT&T has contended that the merger would enable it to expand service, including broadband service.

Former Congressman Rick Boucher, a partner in the Washington, DC office of Sidley Austin, and amalia deloney, Grassroots Policy Director for the Center for Media Justice will describe their differing views of the proposed merger and respond to audience questions. Steve Kelley, Director of CSTPP will moderate the forum.

Broadband story gathering in MN with MIRC

This week I have been on the road visiting Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities (MIRC) folks in the field with the MIRC team and some consultants with the NTIA. (Here are some of us in Willmar.) The consultants are visiting with us and other ARRA/BTOP recipients across the country to do some evaluations of what’s working with broadband adoption. For the rest of us on the tour, it was a great opportunity to see what’s happening on the frontlines, hear some fun – often heartwarming – stories and learn about how barriers have been overcome. I’m hoping to share these stories and lessons on the blog over the next couple of weeks.

To get us started, Bernadine Joselyn talks about observations and reflections on the visits…

Paul Bunyan expands to Trout Lake Township

Paul Bunyan is expanding fiber to Trout Lake Township. While they expect to begin construction next spring, it can take up to three years to complete the network. The engineering department at Paul Bunyan is still working on the scheduling. Once available, residents will be able to access phone, data and television.

Here’s what the Paul Bunyan web site says about the expansion…

“As a cooperative, our mission is to provide services to members,” explained Paul Bunyan Communications chief operating officer Gary Johnson. “Our model shows a demand for services in these areas. It’s sorely needed. This is very good news.”

CityCamp Minnesota – an Unconference on November 12 in Minneapolis

I thought the following event might be of interest to readers. The theme is Community 2.0 – Gov, Community, Tech, Social All Mixed

CityCamp Minnesota will launch our first unconference on Saturday, November 12, 2011 in Minneapolis with the broad theme of “Community 2.0.”

From great people in government, community organizations, and technology start-ups to “everyday citizens” who happen to be software developers, social media experts, open government advocates, and students, everyone is welcome.

  • In a world of scarce public resources, how do we take advantage of the “2.0″ online, social media, and open source world to help build awesome local communities?
  • How can we connect the interested public with 2.0 skills to work with government, community groups, neighborhood associations, local ethnic associations, and more?
  • How can our local communities be bold, inclusive, open, accessible, wired and darn right innovative when bottom-up connects with top-down for collaboration?

The Conversations Starts with You.

Park Rapids is getting more broadband

Today CivSource reports that Paul Bunyan is expanding broadband to 4,000 homes in Park Rapids thanks to a $17 million loan through the USDA’s Rural Utility Service…

Paul Bunyan Communications which operates in Minnesota, has secured a $17 million loan through the USDA’s Rural Utility Service broadband loan program. This loan will expand services to nearly 4,000 homes and businesses in the Park Rapids area of Minnesota. Under the terms of the loan the expansion project must be completed within three years.

The company expects to be able to offer service to residents in the Park Rapids and Park Rapids metro area by 2013.

Silver Bay wants more Wireless Broadband for Emergencies

Thomas Clifford, from Silver Bay MN and member of the Lake County Board, had a letter to the editors in the Duluth News Tribune this weekend that highlights the reasons he supports the AT&T-T-Mobile merger to expand broadband into Lake County…

The horrific Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness wildfire at Pagami Creek was a wake-up call in Lake County and across the Iron Range. Thanks to the tireless and heroic efforts of firefighters, law enforcement and first responders, the fire was contained and the damage minimized. The consequences for nearby communities could have been devastating with lives lost and homes consumed by the massive blaze.

Part of the reason firefighters were able to battle the fire so effectively was wireless communications. Fortunately, AT&T set up emergency equipment to aid communications during the disaster and helped first responders coordinate activities.

As a Lake County commissioner, I’ve pushed for enhanced mobile communications across the county for emergency situations such as this. When lives are at stake, we need to have the security that high-speed wireless technology provides. It can be a life-saver.

That’s also one of the reasons I’ve been a vocal and active supporter of the proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile. The combined efficiencies and resources realized through the merger would deliver mobile broadband to areas of Lake County that wouldn’t otherwise have it.

You can read the entire article online.

ICF Competition – deadline extended

So you thought you were going to submit your application for the Intelligent Community Forum competition, but you got sidetracked? Well, the deadline has been extended to September 30. I wrote about the competition earlier. It’s an international competition of communities who are making smart use of technology.

We have nice representation from Minnesota – Dakota County has made the Smart 21 list for a couple years running now – but I’d love to see Minnesota dominate that list!