Pleased to share a letter to the editor of Worthington Daily Globe from Blandin President and CEO Kathy Annette…
Recently, a team from Blandin Foundation was in Worthington to celebrate the wrap-up of our partnership with Nobles 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.
Leaders in the Nobles Economic Opportunity Network (NEON) told us they stepped up to partner with the Foundation to enhance connectivity in the county, where roughly 60 percent of the population is served with broadband that meets state goals. However, less than 20 percent of the land area is considered served. Project partners included townships, cities, county staff, school districts, business, and Minnesota West Community and Technical College.
NEON’s priorities were to bring fiber to the home (FTTH) to the entire county, promote digital inclusion, and improve the county’s broadband marketing and advocacy.
Over the past 18 months, Blandin Foundation has been proud to provide grant dollars to support the hard work, dedication and vision of the NEON Steering Committee to make great things happen in Nobles County: new public wireless hotspots; a feasibility study to investigate possible paths toward world class connectivity for everyone in the county; new digital resources for county residents; iPads and training at the library; better internet to BAC; technology and education for residents of Round Lake; business training; and plans for an innovative regional data center.
Thanks to this hard work, in the words of Nobles County Administrator Tom Johnson, “A connected community with endless opportunities is just around the corner” for Nobles County. By working together, this leadership team has unleashed tremendous energy that will help carry out the projects beyond the life of the grants.
Local leadership matters. Blandin Foundation commends NEON and other leaders in Nobles County for your vision and dedication to building a more connected community with opportunity for all.