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.
On Monday (December 17, 2012), we met with Fred Underwood, Jason Hollinday and Karen Diver in Cloquet, Minnesota at the Fond du Lac Tribal Center MIS Conference room. Similar to some of the other BBC communities, they have uneven broadband access in their community. In January, the tribal buildings will be getting Gigabit access and there are community centers in each community – but outside of the Fond du Lac Government and Health Care facilities, and to a greater extend outside of town, the access is lacking.
The tribal community does have the benefit of centralized IT support, which makes easier collaboration among sectors. There is a lot of enthusiasm in the community – folks are eager to get access. They have tried some programs with varying levels of success. They already deal with multiple networks and the security issues with each.
Education is a big driver in the community. Karen noted that we are experiencing the problem of disinvestment in education. Broadband is an opportunity to reverse that trend.