Last week, Mark Zimmerman, IEDC president, gave an update to the Itasca County board of commissioners about Connect Itasca. (His report is available on video – starting at about 10 minute mark.) It was great to hear what was going on.
Connect Itasca has been around for about 9 months. They are working on getting broadband to everyone at the state at speeds of 10-20 Mbps down and 5-10 Mbps up. They plan to build from existing services and find ways to expand to neighboring areas – especially where we can demonstrate demand.
IEDC wants to help the providers deliver service. They are working with the County, Blandin Foundation and the local providers (Paul Bunyan, CenturyLink, Mediacom and Arvig). They have been surveying local residents to demonstrate need and interest. They have 1,000 people respond. They also have 37 champions in various communities who are armed to drum up interest in their communities.
They are trying to create markets that bridge the gap that creates areas that look (and would be) less profitable. They have created an map to help providers see the need. This compliments the work they have done through the Blandin Broadband Community boost broadband adoption.