MN Broadband Task Force Report is Out
Less than two months after being announced http://wp.me/p3if7-1tC and after their second meeting http://wp.me/p3if7-1xx, the latest Minnesota Broadband Task Force has released their first report, a state of the state of broadband in Minnesota. http://wp.me/p3if7-1xY According to the report, 57 percent of Minnesota households have access to 10 Mbps (downstream) and 6 Mbps (upstream) broadband. The goal is for ubiquitous access (at those speeds) by 2015.
The next task force meeting is scheduled for January 10 at TIES. http://www.ties.k12.mn.us/ They will be preparing their next report, which is intended lay the groundwork to help Minnesota reach broadband goals by 2015.
Policy Issues in the News
Policy issues, including broadband and telecommunications issues, are emerging as the legislative season draws nearer. Industry and community leaders are questioning the impact of the changes in the Universal Service Funds (USF) http://wp.me/p3if7-1y2, while Internet users, publishers and politicians are concerned about privacy online (SOPA: Stop Online Privacy Act). http://wp.me/p3if7-1xV
Policy analysts are taking a hard look at policy and the digital divide, specifically as it relates to minorities http://wp.me/p3if7-1wV as well looking at the roadblocks for adoption and deployment. http://wp.me/p3if7-1xf Not surprisingly, it often comes down to cost.
Local Broadband News
The Carlton County Pine Journal follows the progress of the Northeast Service Coop and their fiber construction. http://wp.me/p3if7-1×7 NESC received ARRA funding to deploy fiber in the area.
Duluth looks at tech sector growth in the area since vying to become the Google Gig community. http://wp.me/p3if7-1xR
HickoryTech has purchased IdeaOne, a company that provides data networking, Internet, colocation, phone and hosting services in the Fargo area. http://wp.me/p3if7-1wS
Southwest Minnesota Broadband Services connected its first customer in Lakefield. SMBS received ARRA funding to deploy fiber in the area. http://wp.me/p3if7-1wZ
Taking advantage of local telecommunications infrastructure, the City of Minneapolis and Minnesota Public Radio have created an audio MPR Sound Point tour of Minneapolis Public Art. http://wp.me/p3if7-1v8
The West Central Tribune reports on a Business Blogging class held in New London taught by the University of Minnesota Extension as part of the local MIRC programming. http://wp.me/p3if7-1×4
Upper Minnesota Valley
Economic Developer, Dawn Hegland speaks with Intelligent Community Forumâ€™s Robert Bell about MIRCâ€™s progress in promoting broadband adoption in the Upper Minnesota Valley Region. http://wp.me/p3if7-1xi (Includes video.)
West Central Minnesota
Appleton Minnesota’s Pioneer TV created a mini-documentary on broadband in rural areas for a 12 minute segment for the PBS Need to Know Series. http://wp.me/p3if7-1xc
Minnesota Department for Employment and Economic Development recently awarded a grant to Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical to develop and provide training to Hiawatha Broadband Communications to deploy broadband. http://wp.me/p3if7-1xM
January – Stats in Facebook: A Free Webinar http://www.mnrem.com/blog/?p=548
January – Minnesota Broadband Task Force meets – (St Paul) http://wp.me/p3if7-1xx
January 31 – Deadline for Broadband Video Contest – HickoryTech is accepting entries for its My Life My Internet video contest. http://wp.me/p3if7-1wN
February 24 – MACTA (Minnesota Association of Community Telecommunications Administrators) Day at the Capitol – http://tinyurl.com/7dmmyxn
February 28 – MTA (Minnesota Telecom Alliance) Day on the Hill http://tinyurl.com/87rrups
Looking for more events? Check out TechDotMN’s calendar http://tech.mn/events/. Many events are based in the Twin Cities but it is a comprehensive list. (If you have an upcoming event, consider submitting it.)
Looking for local MIRC (Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities) events? Check the MIRC Google calendar: http://tinyurl.com/3oz5uzh or University of Minnesota Extension MIRC calendar http://tinyurl.com/66vxghj
Stirring the Pot
Does your community make New Year’s resolutions? January is a great opportunity to bring people together to talk about goals and improvement. The Intelligent Community framework (focusing on: broadband, knowledge workers, innovation, digital inclusion and marketing/advocacy) provides guidance for organizing and implementing action. Through our MN Intelligent Rural Community (MIRC) projects http://tinyurl.com/2c6mhh4, I have observed that the most exciting projects are those that link across two or more Intelligent Community elements.
For example, a community may decide to improve public access to broadband and computers by opening up school computer labs extended hours to all residents. To broaden the audience beyond those without computers or broadband Internet access, the community could add a focus on math and science to create knowledge workers by using community volunteers who use math and science â€“ from machinists to scientists – and by taking advantage of online resources â- from Khan Academy http://www.khanacademy.org/ to MIT. http://ocw.mit.edu Potential positive outcomes include more support for school technology investments, better linkage between kids and local career opportunities, intergenerational learning and linkages, better math and science test scores and a more Intelligent Community! You could just as easily promote the arts through an approach like this.
A shared goal across our demonstration communities is improved marketing – convincing both residents and non-residents (prospective business owners and tourists) to stop, stay and invest in the community. The U of M Extension http://tinyurl.com/7ys3uul has done a great job educating businesses how to promote themselves online. In today’s economy, everyone is essentially a small business – improving the products through education, marketing themselves to gain income – through employment on site or through telework, self-employment, or growing a business. How can a community use online tools like eFolio Minnesota http://www.efoliominnesota.com/ combined with local web sites to showcase and market local talent – from kids to stay at home parents to retirees? The inventory of talent would be eye-opening for both locals and visitors!
Let us know what your community resolutions are and how you plan to achieve your goals for improvement.
Bill Coleman helps communities make the connection between telecommunications and economic development. As principal in Community Technology Advisors http://tinyurl.com/3f4dx7g for ten years, he assists community, foundation and corporate clients develop and implement programs of broadband infrastructure investment and technology promotion and training. Bill is working with the Blandin Foundation on the MIRC Initiative http://tinyurl.com/2c6mhh4, Community Broadband Resource Program http://tinyurl.com/cseu7e and other broadband projects.