Blandin Broadband e-News December 2014: Conference Notes & Community Updates

BBC MapNews from the Blandin on Broadband Blog

Border to Border Broadband: No Community Left Behind Nov 18-19

The Border to Border conference in November was a great success. Blandin Foundation announced 10 new Blandin Broadband Communities, Connect Minnesota unveiled their final scheduled round of research and communities heard from broadband practitioners and policy leaders – below are links to individual conference sessions notes (presentations and videos when available):

Blandin Foundation Names Next Round BBC Communities

Blandin Foundation announces 10 new Blandin Broadband Communities; Blandin will be working with these communities to expand broadband in their areas:

  • Carlton County
  • Central Woodlands (East Central RDC)
  • Chisago County
  • Martin County
  • Nobles County
  • Red Wing
  • Redwood County
  • Resilient Region Virtual Hwy Taskforce
  • RS Fiber Cooperative
  • Sherburne County

Broadband Makes the Headlines in Twin Cities

Over the Thanksgiving break both the St Paul Pioneer Press and Minneapolis Star Tribune featured articles on broadband disparities in rural areas. The Star Tribune talked about the Minnesota Broadband Fund and focus on rural areas. The Pioneer Press explained the disparities between rural and metro broadband access and use. Earlier in the month, Minnesota Public Radio hosted an on air conversation on Net Neutrality.

Broadband Makes Headlines in Rural Areas

The Winona Daily News and MinnPost both talk about the Minnesota House becoming more Republican and more rural after the last election and expect an increased focus on rural broadband. MinnPost adds that the Greater Minnesota Partnership wants Legislators to invest $200 million in the Broadband Fund in the next session.

Broadband News Around Minnesota

 Itasca County

Itasca Area Initiative for Student Success surveys area students on a range of topics, including technology. Results indicate that 22 percent were challenged by technology, 44 percent felt vulnerable, 18 percent felt they had adequate technology skills and only 16 percent felt they were thriving.

Itasca County BBC initiative celebrates broadband success by showcasing their efforts including Social Media Breakfasts, e-business training, IT networking events and community portal.

Renville & Sibley Counties

RS Fiber’s Board of Directors recently endorsed an updated business plan and financing strategy to deploy fiber in 10 cities and 17 townships in the Renville and Sibley counties.

 Events & Funding Deadlines:

  • December 9: Minnesota Broadband Task Force (Minneapolis)
  • Jan 3-15: Gigabit City Summit (Kansas City)
  • Jan 21: Deadline for Ignite funds for cool applications that showcase Gigabit access or promote Joint Gigabit projects

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

I’m a big MN Gopher football fan, suffering through some pretty bad teams over the years. But this year, the team has played better and has won some big games. Four years into his stay, Coach Kill has emphasized building a program “Brick by Brick” and it seems that they are doing just that. The bricks are skill, strength and determination. Progress comes fast or slow, or in bursts. Sometimes there are setbacks.

Community broadband initiatives are similar long-term initiatives requiring a strong foundation. The bricks are leadership, educated consumers, feasible alternatives and trusted partnerships. A community cannot just purchase these items off the shelf. Like the Gophers, progress is achieved only through hard work led by smart leaders and guided by a plan. If your community wants to start building your broadband initiative, consider seeking assistance through Blandin Foundation’s Community Broadband Resources program. Click here for more information:

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

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s