Blandin Broadband e-News May 2016: What will happen at the legislature?

BBC MapA recap of the month’s broadband news – especially in Minnesota…

Broadband in the Legislature

Broadband speeds, funding and grant requirements have been discussed and debated in the House and Senate. At time of writing the House proposes $40 million for broadband, the Senate proposes $85 million and Governor Dayton proposes $100 million.

Response to Broadband in the Legislature

There has been a lot of response to the various levels of funding proposed for broadband by policymakers

Mobile-only broadband household rate is growing

Americans are abandoning their wired Internet for a mobile-data-only; if the trend continues, it could reflect a huge shift in the way we experience the Web.

How are Minnesota schools connected to the Internet?

Minnesota Education Technology Networks reports that the networks are mostly fiber with some supporting carrier-class microwave. Good connectivity is credited to early intervention of cooperatives.

$12 Million in Broadband Grants

The USDA Seeks Applications for Nearly $12 Million in Broadband Grants for Rural Communities.

Minnesota Broadband Task Force

The Task Force went to Target today to hear from local cyber security practitioners. The also got an update from the Legislature and made plans for future meetings.

How doe MN rank as a broadband state?

A recent report from SNG indicates that while Minnesota’s broadband activity and investment ranking is above average, it’s not world class.

Local Broadband News


Bemidji business idea to transition folks away from landlines by forwarding their number by family member


Ely realizes that their hopes for fiber are diminishing as the timing for federal funds ran out.

Kandiyohi County

Kandiyohi is asking residents to complete a broadband market research survey to assess need and interest in the area.

Century Link to spend a million dollars on broadband in Kandiyohi County

Lt Governor Tina Smith hears about broadband need in Kandiyohi County


Bridging the Digital Divide in Minnesota: a session from the 2016 Technology and Communications Conference (video)

Renville and Sibley Counties

RS Fiber Report – informative and inspirational look at the power of cooperatives

Sherburne County

NewCore Wireless finishes Sherburne County project funded by Border to Border grants

Sherburne County posts RFQ for Broadband Partner

Upcoming Events

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.)

Stirring the Potbill right


Community leaders are just fantastic people. I continue to be amazed at the talents and passion that emerge from any and all parts of rural communities in pursuit of community survival and vibrancy.


I want to congratulate the Chisago Lakes Community – five small towns with a population of about 12,000 people – for their continued success in the America’s Best Communities program sponsored by Frontier Communications, DISH Network, CoBank and the Weather Channel.

From more than 300 applicants, Chisago Lakes has made the top eight finalist communities. To date, they have been awarded $165,000 to work on planning and projects. A year from now, the top three communities will receive million dollar awards. The community leadership on display from all of the top 15 communities at an economic summit held in Durham NC last week was inspiring.

Similar in process to the Blandin Broadband Communities program, the ABC program has engaged cross-sector leadership teams that collaborate and squeeze value of each dollar of grants and local contributions. These programs also spur community connectedness and unleash such incredible community spirit.

I would love to hear comments from community leaders – is it the planning process or the committed outside resources that make such wonderful things happen in your communities? Or are both planning assistance and financial resources required to make things happen? Or is it that an outside organization – in this case, Blandin Foundation or the ABC sponsors are putting their faith in you that provides motivation?

I know that if we could bottle and distribute what happens in the BBC or ABC processes, our rural areas would thrive!

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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