Pleased to share a letter to the editor from Blandin President and CEO Kathy Annette in the Pine Journal...
Recently a team from Blandin Foundation was in Moose Lake to celebrate the wrap-up of our partnership with Carlton County through the Blandin Broadband Communities program. What we saw was impressive: a diverse group of dedicated broadband champions working together to make their communities better.
Over the past 18 months, Carlton County’s Broadband Steering Committee assessed community technology strengths and gaps, brainstormed ideas, and identified ambitious goals: increase free internet sites in rural areas, promote telehealth and telework, market their communities to retain/attract technology opportunities, and increase access to devices and the use of technology in Carlton County, particularly by students.
Much of the efforts of Carlton County’s Broadband Steering Committee have been focused on increasing access to the internet for all county residents. The committee worked with PCs for People to distribute refurbished laptops to community members in need. They increased the number of Chromebooks available for use by students in the schools and have implemented wi-fi on activity busses. The Broadband Steering Committee also supported efforts by libraries in the county to procure hotspot devices for check-out and offer community education classes to teach people how to use devices.
Local leadership matters. Blandin Foundation commends all Carlton County residents who contributed to the work of the county’s Broadband Steering Committee, and in particular Brenda Nyberg and Connie Christenson, for their vision and dedication to a more connected community with opportunity for all.