Blandin eNews: Monthly recap of October MN broadband stories

A recap of posts from October…BBC Map

MN Broadband Task Force Notes

The Minnesota Broadband Task Force starts to talk about their annual report and what they want to include in it. A coalition of rural interests asks them to focus on three recommendations: fund the Office of Broadband Development, fund the border to border grants and adapt the grant requirements especially to reduce the hindering impact of the current challenge process where incumbent providers can put the kibosh on proposed projects by saying that they have plans to expand their network to include the proposed areas in the next 18 months.

MN Politicians on Broadband

Broadband is part of the political discussion in many races. In the last couple weeks, many politicians have mentioned it, often as a priority.

Broadband Communities Conference: Tips for communities and providers

The Broadband Communities Magazine held their Midwest Regional Conference in Minnesota. They made the case for broadband in a community, emphasized the impact of local support, and offered advice for partnership. At the event, the Institute for Local Self Reliance had suggestions for how Minnesota could smooth the road for community networks.

Possible Broadband Benefits to Minnesota

Strategic Network Group (SNG) recently released possible outcomes of improved broadband in Minnesota…

  • Businesses adopting … 3,949
  • New Revenues/Business … $60,000
  • Annual GDP … $293 million
  • Annual Tax Revenue … $11 million
  • Total New Jobs … 4,264

Minnesota Government Gets a B+ for Digital

Government Technology recently released the results of their 2016 Digital States Survey. Minnesota gets a B+.

Local Broadband News


  • Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation shares their High Tech Center research project report

Carlton County

Central Woodlands

Chisago County

  • Chisago County gives a BBC Update and including their continued success with the America’s Best Competition

Dakota County


Iron Range

  • Local citizens get ready to make improvements in their life based on the improvements that Paul Bunyan recently made to local broadband service


  • The City of Minneapolis is inviting citizens to chime in on their Comprehensive Plan (2040) online
  • AT&T launches fixed wireless trial, which targets apartment complexes in several cities, including Minneapolis

Nobles County

Otter Tail County

Red Wing

  • Red Wing Ignite promotes their FTTH network with entrepreneurial training and support

Redwood County

  • Surveys in Redwood County give a taste of what it’s like to live without adequate broadband

Resilient Region (Region Five)

Sherburne County

  • Sherburne County gives a BBC Update and including details from their feasibility study

Turtle River, Puposky and Tenstrike


  • Ridgewater College and RITA host their second annual Hack fest with dozens of participants creating a apps, prototypes and relationships

Upcoming Events

  • Nov 2 – Minnesota Broadband Task Force meeting
  • Nov 10: Census 2020: The Count Starts Now – Free Webinar
  • Dec 15 – Minnesota Broadband Task Force meeting

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

Please imagine that as next spring approaches, a health instructor in a rural community announces to the class that new graduation standards require that they bike ten miles per day during April and May.  Some of the kids think this was great because they already regularly ride fancy racing bike. Other kids complain that their bikes are old and too small and equipped with fat, knobby tires.  Others have to share their bike with their siblings and can only ride every other day.  Still others live on a gravel road where biking is dangerous.

“Don’t worry, you can stay after school and use one of the two bikes that the school owns, but you can’t take them off of school property and you have to be done by 4 pm,” said the teacher. “And you will have to take turns with all of the other kids that don’t have bikes.  And if you are on the track team, or in the play or any other activity, you will just have to manage somehow.”

It’s clear that many of these kids’ parents are going to be calling the teacher, the principal and the superintendent saying “This is ridiculous!”  And it is.

Yet this is a year-round learning deficit for all the kids that lack computers and Internet access across rural Minnesota.  How is our state and your community handling this?

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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