Blandin Broadband eNews: Upcoming Broadband conference and grant deadlines

Blandin Broadband Conference: Sep 13-14BBC Map
You’re Invited to the Fall Broadband conference, Border to Border Broadband: Advancing the Vision on September 13-14 in the Greysolon Ballroom in Duluth, MN. It is an opportunity to continue the work from last year’s conference where attendees crafted the well-received state broadband vision.

IRRRB and Blandin Foundation form new partnership
IRRRB and Blandin Foundation work together to assist communities with broadband planning. Four communities within the IRRRB service area will be selected through an application process. Each community must form a steering committee that commits to spending time and attention to planning, project development and management.

Wireless vs Wired: Not either or but both
Wireless cannot replace wired nor can wired replace wireless but each can support the other. Wireless connectivity requires wired backhaul. Wireless connectivity offers an affordable option for last mile that builds demand for and capital to build fiber.

Minnesota’s Competitive Market Regulation
Following legislation enacted this year, CenturyLink petitioned Minnesota’s PUC to change its regulatory status, allowing it to be treated as a competitive market telecom provider. To achieve that goal, CenturyLink must show that it serves fewer than 50 percent of households in an exchange service area, and that at least 60 percent of those households can choose voice phone service from at least one competitor. The Commerce Department and the attorney general’s office said CenturyLink’s petition for deregulation was missing required information.

Broadband adoption in rural households still lags behind urban households
The NTIA releases a report that indicates that all persons, regardless of race or ethnicity, were less likely to use the Internet when living in rural areas.

Court of Appeals Rules Against FCC
The Court of Appeals tells the FCC that they can’t open doors to municipal networks by preempting state laws. Response to the decision is varied.

Minnesota Broadband Task Force: Digital Inclusion
Angela Siefer from the National Digital Inclusion Alliance tells the Task Force that digital literacy is the most expensive component of broadband adoption because as technology changes, the goalposts change.

Minnesota Broadband Grants
Applications for Minnesota Border to Border Broadband Grants are due October 3. There is also $500,000 for projects in low income areas. The deadline for the Minnesota Department of Education Broadband Expansion Off-Campus Learning Grant Program Is September 9.

Local Broadband News

Babbitt and Tower
AT&T Expands 4G LTE Network in Babbitt and Tower

Brainerd Lakes gets Blandin Funding to grow the tech services industry sector

Cannon Falls
HBC to Bring High-Speed Broadband to Cannon Falls

Cohasset and Grand Rapids
Paul Bunyan FTTH reaches 1,400 in Cohasset and Grand Rapids MN

Fairview and Fort Ripley
Impact study from MN Border to Border grant for Fairview and Fort Ripley Townships demonstrates community benefits

Fillmore County
Fillmore County holds a public meeting on broadband, finances, grants and partners. and the meeting makes local paper

Kandiyohi County
Kandiyohi County plans to apply for broadband grant

Martin County
Martin County Broadband Feasibility Study outlines steps to get to the top of the county rankings

Nobles County
Nobles County is awarded Blandin broadband grants

Northwest Minnesota
The Northwest Minnesota Foundation receives Blandin grant to boost area business broadband use

Red Wing
Red Wing Ignite Tech internships are a success with interns and businesses.

Red Wing touted as rural hotbed for tech start-ups

Redwood County
Redwood County details projects funded with grants from the Blandin Foundation

Renville and Sibley Counties
RS Fiber Cooperative on NATOA Community Broadband Innovative Partnership Award

RS Fiber cooperative broadband approach recognized for lack of federal funding

Rochester is thinking about a community broadband plan and people are chiming in and

Local business’ sales increase from $304,000 to $438,000 6 months after building website.

Rural MN
Is broadband in Minnesota a public good? What is the public cost of not having broadband?

Sherburne County
Better broadband extends county support to veterans closer to home in Sherburne County

St Cloud
Bad weather punctuates the need for better broadband

Stevens County (Minnesota District 12A)
Letter to the Editor missed the need for continued State support for broadband.

Twin Cities
The Minnesota 4-H Foundation receives $11,000 from AT&T to support its Urban 4-H STEM Clubs

Fairview Health offers telehealth services that diagnose and prevent chronic conditions

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

Question: What do rural broadband advocates and Minnesota Gopher football fans have in common?

Answer: Trying to decide “what is good enough!”

The Gophers opened their season with a home win over Oregon State 30-23.  They got the job done, but barely.  There were numerous malfunctions with some periods of adequacy.  The game was lacking in moments of exceptional play.  Much of the crowd seemed to be a bit unsettled as the team had to come back to beat the underdog Beavers.  The crowd was unsatisfied, but relieved with the victory, with widespread thinking “We need to be a lot better to beat good teams in the Big Ten.”

Community leaders are now in the midst of formulating their Border to Border Broadband Grant strategies.  They are considering some or all of the following questions…1) What is good enough today and into the future to justify public investment?  2) Will our community’s long term needs be met with an improved network where rural residents can receive broadband services ranging from a 10/1 connection to 25/3 or a bit higher?  3) Do we need really a fiber to the home or DOCSIS 3.1 cable network to be ready to meet the 100/20 by 2026 goal and will today’s investment facilitate reaching that goal closer to 2026?  4)  What will be the difference between a CAF2-funded network and the same network enhanced with DEED and/or local funds?  5) What is a fair deal in a public private partnership?   6) How far can the Office of Broadband stretch limited dollars and how will they blend their legislatively mandated objectives?  7) Will there be more dollars appropriated in 2017?

So many unanswered questions…about Gopher football….about Rural Broadband.  As both a long-suffering Gopher fan and rural broadband advocate, I have high hopes coming into this fall with reality settled by New Year’s Day!

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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