In December, the Blandin Broadband Community team is meeting with the nine new Blandin Broadband Communities. I have been able to attend some of the meetings and wanted to introduce folks to the new communities when I could.
Last week we met with the team from SBMS, which is driving the Blandin Broadband Community initiative in Jackson, Lakefield, Round Lake, Bingham Lake, Brewster, Wilder, Heron Lake and Okabena. This is the only community where the broadband provider is leading the effort to promote better broadband – and access to broadband is not the issue that it has been in other communities. SMBS is in the last stages of connecting the area with primarily fiber access and working to get wireless to the far reaches. That being said – neighboring communities are hoping the expand service – soon.
The next step for the area is to make smart use of the network. We met with folks from various sectors – education, healthcare, local government, economic development. Stuff is happening – the school have a plan in place for iPads. The local colleges are moving classes online. The local healthcare provider (Sanford Health) is doing some amazing online. Now it’s a matter of making sure folks are working together, that the smaller businesses are optimizing their use of technology and a big goal is improving online branding of the local communities to attract and retain residents.