Blandin Broadband eNews Dec 2015: Conference Notes & Grant Awardees

BBC MapThe 2015 Broadband Conference was a big success. You can access notes (including video and PowerPoints when available) on the various sessions:

Broadband Task Force Drafts Annual Report

The Broadband Task Force met to comb through a draft of their annual broadband report. Much of the report is completed; they still need to finalize discussion on speed goals or recommendations.

Blandin Foundation Featured in Twin Cities Business Magazine

TC Business Magazine looks at the good works of the Blandin Foundation, including the impact Blandin has had on broadband expansion in Minnesota.

Two Minnesota Providers Get Rural Broadband Experiment Money

The FCC awards $16 million to rural providers. Two Minnesota providers receive funding: Federated and Paul Bunyan.

Local Broadband News

Afton is not happy that they did not receive state funding for their community broadband efforts.

Paul Bunyan Communications’ GigaZone expands to over 500 more locations in Bemidji

Chisago County
Chisago County releases broadband video that features local businesses

Gentilly area (in Crookston County) to get Border to Border broadband funding

Itasca County
Paul Bunyan gets Minnesota Border to Border Broadband Grant for portions of Central Itasca County

Kandiyohi County moving to better broadband with funding for feasibility study

US Internet announces Minneapolis fiber construction plans for 2016

Sherburne County
Sherburne County releases a video on need for broadband in the community.

Swift County
Swift County awarded $4.95 million state broadband grant.

Southwestern Minnesota
MVTV Wireless was awarded $808,080 to upgrade backhaul capacity between site locations within 20 southwestern Minnesota counties, including Chippewa, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Meeker, Redwood, Renville, Swift and Yellow Medicine.

Upcoming Events

  • December 8 – Minnesota Broadband Task Force Meeting – 10 am
  • December 10 – Rural Broadband and Digital Inclusion Planning Webinar

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 rightStirring the Pot


Words count!  I heard that message again and again at the Border to Border Broadband Conference.  What do providers want to hear to entice their interest in partnerships?  What do county commissioners need to hear to spur their commitment of funds?  And what do the digitally excluded and non-adopters need to hear to get them to attend training and learn new skills?   Messaging is both hard work and time consuming.

Equal to the task of finding the right message is identifying the most effective messenger and determining the best timing for your message delivery.  Our BBCs learned some specific messaging strategies at the end of the conference as Blandin staff Alie Mcinerney led them through a “Planning to Win” campaign planning session.   Ali is a great instructor, but we learned that not even the Best of our BBCs could take in any more information by Friday afternoon!  People need to be ready to receive a message for it to sink in.  It’s a good thing that you can find the campaign planning tools at

One very positive trend for broadband messaging is the growing list of successful broadband partnerships.  These provide clear examples and provide quick confidence of the path to success.  You can shape your message by using quality examples.  You can find convincing messengers by asking project leaders to share their stories.  You cannot communicate too much or too often and you need to realize the long-term approach required for success.

If you are interested in “planning to win” your local broadband campaign, let us know.  We will be working with local teams to help them move their conversation forward.


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