Senator Franken talks broadband in Alexandria MN

According to the Voice of Alexandria:

Several of U.S. Senator Al Franken’s staff members were in Alexandria Tuesday to talk with people involved in the region’s infrastructure.  A handful of people employed in power companies, municipalities and business and economic development were on hand.  The “Rural Infrastructure Listening Tour” is targeting the region’s roads, bridges, water systems and broadband services.  Jake Schwitzer, Franken’s state policy advisor says hearing the stories from these individuals is vital to getting things done in Washington.

Wagner praised the senator’s emphasis on two-year education models, because of the need to fill positions throughout the region in the various trades.

Broadband and internet efficiencies were part of the discussion.  Nathan Chan of ALP Utilities talked about some of the limitations of areas outside of their coverage area.  He talked about slow upload and download speeds’ role in business development and the unwillingness for tech-saavy homeowners to live in areas that can’t offer higher speeds.  Runestone Electric CEO Kristin Dolan added the argument that even students at AAHS who are required to use ChromeBooks for their homework, experience difficulty in completing assignments as a result of lack of broadband/high speed internet in rural areas, outside of city limits.

You can learn more about the broadband situation in Alexandria in a recent podcast with Community Broadband Networks. Here’s the description of the episode…

Alexandria’s ALP Utilities General Manager Al Crowser joins us this week to explain what they have done and why. Like us, Al is a strong believer that local governments can be the best provider of essential services to local businesses and residents.

In the show, we talk some history and also about the difference between local customer service and that from a larger, more distant company. He discusses how they have paid for the network and where net income goes. And finally, we talk about their undergrounding project.

This entry was posted in MN, Policy 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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