Minnesota Broadband Task Force June Meeting: Introductions and new members

I didn’t attend the Broadband Task Force yesterday, but I did get notes to share. And I’ve been to a few meetings so I fleshed it out a little. The meeting is the first for the latest iteration of the Task Force. A couple of bright spots include – the added focus on broadband availability and the interest in redressing state speed goals, which were defined more than a few years ago now.

The meeting opened with introductions of Task Force members. You can see list of members; about half are new, especially when you know that one of the new really served as substitute for a former member most of the time.)

Margaret Anderson Kelliher, who remains Task Force Chair, gave an introduction to the Task Force, including a history and talk on their mandate. I’ll borrow from the Task Force website to fill in…

The Governor’s Task Force on Broadband develops policies to promote the expansion of broadband access throughout Minnesota.

The task force is responsible for developing an action plan to identify and correct disparities in access and adoption of broadband in all Minnesota communities, with a goal of ensuring that homes, schools, hospitals, and businesses have access to the technology and information resources they need.

The goal is to focus on broadband access, adoption and affordability. One bright spot is the addition of affordability to the shortlist. Again having been to a lot of meetings, I can tell you that affordability often comes up but few groups have resigned to take it on I think it part because affordable can be subjective. I heard someone in a meeting in Chisago Lakes correct himself and change “affordable” to competitive. I think that was an astute correction.

The spoke about who was the audience for the work of the Task Force:

  • Governor
  • Legislature
  • Other policy makers

These are the folks who read the reports generated by the Task Force and it seems like th Task Force gets the opportunity to speak to/with these groups on various occasions.

Danna MacKenzie gave and introduction to the Office of Broadband Development. Again I’ll borrow from the website to flesh out the answer…

Border-to-border high-speed Internet access is the goal throughout Minnesota. The Office of Broadband Development helps Minnesota residents understand broadband options available.

The OBD is a resource to Task Force. For example, Jane Leonard is drafting white papers on the economic impact of BB to MN’s economy. It’s due out in the fall and could help inform the Task Force report and recommendations.

They reviewed the 2015 work plan.

The recognized 2015 priorities:

  • 1) Make new recommendation for new speed goals for MN (TF will address at July meeting , and pick up discussion at Sept TF mtg)
  • 2) Set goals for K-12 connectivity

The Task Force will again do much of their work in sub-committees and members will figure out which committees they would like to join before the next meeting.

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