Blandin Broadband eNews March 2013

BBC MapNews from the Blandin on Broadband Blog

Minnesota Broadband Task Force February Meeting Roger Root from the Department of Human Services spoke to the Task Force about his goal to provide health care services to Minnesota citizens. He recognizes the role broadband will play in providing those services and keeping them at home. While he focuses on building a system, he is hoping that the Task Force will build the case and support the infrastructure necessary to support his system. He thought the Task Force would do well to market the need for infrastructure to support emerging government services.

Broadband and Education Research indicates that teachers are using technology in the classroom but there is discrepancy in availability and access based on socioeconomic standing of students. Strides are being made to support students with efforts such as Carver County’s Wi-Fi on the school buses and libraries continue to attract patrons looking for both books and a chance to get online.

Policy Issues:

  • Rep. Mary Franson (R-Alexandria) sponsors legislation that would prevent employees from having to provide their social media passwords to employers as a condition of employment.
  • Community leaders ask the Legislature to invest in the future of Minnesota with education from Pre-K programs to technology training. Legislation has been introduced to allow for online noncredit classes in Minnesota.
  • Senator Franken sends a letter to Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray promoting broadband expansion, especially in rural areas.
  • Institute for Local Self Reliance promotes community networks on Democracy Now and with a new interactive map of community networks and barriers in the US.
  • Grassroots campaign lifts up broadband advocate Susan Crawford as next Chair of the FCC Support is building based on reaction to her latest efforts to call out to leaders to look at the state of broadband status quo in the US.

Local Broadband News

Carver County
The Eastern Carver County School District installs Wi-Fi on their buses to help students get homework done during commutes.

Cook County
The Sawtooth Mountain Clinic in Grand Marias demonstrates their patient portal, an effort to both increase health and demand for broadband tools in the area.

Arrowhead Electric provides a brief history on their efforts to bring fiber to the North Shore.

Kathy Johnson at Johnson Memorial Health Services talks about the importance of e-services to her patients in Dawson, MN.

East Central Minnesota
East Central Minnesota Regional Broadband Summit in Hinckley convened community and business leaders, public sector folks and providers from five counties: Aitkin, Carlton, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, and Pine Counties to talk about broadband expansion.

Fond du Lac
Members of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa talk about their frustration with limited broadband on the reservation.

Lac qui Parle
Lac qui Parle Valley hosts a community-wide discussion n broadband adoption as part of their Blandin Broadband Community project.

Farmers Mutual Telephone offers FTTH around LqP County.

Leech Lake
The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Temporary Employment Program provides opportunities for job seekers and others to learn how to use technology on the Leech Lake reservation.

Google and the CoCo co-working space in downtown Minneapolis are partnering to host a two-year series of events for tech entrepreneurs.

The Post Bulletin makes the case for adult children to help aging parents learn to use and keep up on technology to keep them safe and improve their quality of life.


March 7: TISP Forum – Minnesota Broadband Legislative Agenda (Minneapolis)

March 20-21: Library Technology Conference 2013 (St Paul)

March 25-27: Minnesota Telecom Alliance Annual Conference (Minneapolis)

April 10: Technology and Communications Conference (Minneapolis)

April 11-13: NTEN: Nonprofit Technology Conference (Minneapolis)

April 30: MHTA Spring Conference (Minneapolis)

June 1-2: Civic Hack Day (various locations TBA)

Looking for more events? Check out TechDotMN’s calendar Many events are based in the Twin Cities but it is a comprehensive list. (If you have an upcoming event, consider submitting it.)

Bill_ColemanStirring the Pot

Good planning, collaboration and action!  Seems to be the recipe for success.

Over the past couple weeks, our Blandin team has seen the fruits of the harvest of our MIRC communities and new seeds planted in our new BBC communities.  In addition, we have seen what a small group, ad hoc in nature, can do with a little facilitation and assistance.

I was part of a group that toured central and northern Minnesota with federal evaluators. In each location, our MIRC coordinators and their teams talked about success through collaboration, new partnerships and sustainable efforts.  Project leaders beamed with pride about new activities and new ways of doing old things.

Over the past several weeks, Karl Samp and I have helped launch nine new community teams in our BBC communities.  It was fun to meet so many great people who are interested in benefiting their communities and organizations.  They have plenty of ideas and lots of energy.  They are hoping to repeat the success of the MIRC communities and by utilizing the lessons learned through MIRC, Karl and I are determined to help them do just that.

Finally, the Blandin team was energized and amazed by the attendees at the East Central Broadband Summit in Hinckley.  About 80 people attended and heard presentations from Bernadine Joselyn, telecom providers, community members and Margaret Anderson Kelliher.  Then the attendees got to work and discussed ways to work together, within and across sector and geographic boundaries.  Thanks to the planning team and the participating telecom providers for a very active discussion!

We will be anxious to support the continuing work and recognize accomplishments. With four BBC communities operating within the five counties, this will be a new opportunity for significant broadband related activities on improved services, access and use.

Makes it fun to go to work!

This entry was posted in Blandin Foundation, MN by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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