Pleased to share a letter to the editor of Isanti-Chisago County Star from Blandin President and CEO Kathy Annette…
Recently a team from Blandin Foundation was in North Branch to celebrate the wrap-up of our partnership with Chisago County in the Blandin Broadband Communities program. What we saw was impressive: a diverse group of dedicated broadband champions working together to make their communities better.
In the past 18 months, the Chisago County Broadband Steering Committee has been focused on enhancing broadband access and use, and promoting the county’s communities as “tech savvy.”
One of the committee’s top goals was to survey county residents to better understand broadband needs and priorities. The “Got Internet” survey garnered 879 responses, and the results were compelling: 35 percent of respondents said that with better broadband they would telecommute, 45 percent would use it for accessing educational opportunities, 31 percent would use it to operate a business, and 86 percent would use it for quality of life improvement. All in all, 94 percent of respondents said they would subscribe to better service if it was available.
In addition to the survey, the Chisago County Broadband Steering Committee implemented a wide variety of projects, including: business training events (which were attended by 300 people), tourism websites, including one for Chisago Lakes and for Old Highway 61, Wi-Fi on long-route school buses, improving connectivity for businesses and providing teleconference equipment, distributing refurbished computers to people in need, and a huge push to local businesses on Google Places, with 250-plus businesses and organizations verified on Google.
Local leadership matters. Blandin Foundation would like to give special congratulations to Nancy Hoffman of Chisago County HRA-EDA for her leadership and vision on the BBC efforts. We also commend all of the community champions and volunteers for their dedication to a more connected community.