Hibbing and Chisholm are new Iron Range Blandin Broadband Communities

I’ve written about the Iron Range Blandin Broadband Communities a few times – especially since we all met up last week. It’s nice to see the Hibbing Daily Tribune pick up the good news too…

Hibbing and Chisholm were among the six selected for an intensive, two-year partnership with the foundation to advance local broadband initiatives.

Aitkin County, Bois Forte Reservation/Orr/Cook, Ely and the Mountain Iron-Buhl area also became Blandin Broadband Communities (BBC).

“We are excited about this partnership and the chance to help both businesses and residents with their technology and broadband needs,” said Lory Fedo, president/CEO of the Hibbing Area Chamber of Commerce. The chamber made the application to Blandin and will lead the effort in Hibbing.

They note challenges in the area and ways that broadband might help in HIbbing…

In the application, the chamber identifies three main challenges, with the first being leveraging broadband to improve the business community. …

A second challenge is education. A number of small business owners are not utilizing basic and accessible tools, which could enhance customer experience, assist them in gaining new customers and increase customer retention. …

And like most rural areas, broadband access in underserved areas and underrepresented populations continues to be a major challenge.

And Chisholm…

Each of the partners identified a struggle with communicating to larger segments of the population, at times, needing to reach the entire community and surrounding area.

The committee also pointed out the connection between broadband infrastructure and creating, attracting and support of “knowledge workers.” At present, the community relies on the school district, HCC and its larger businesses for workforce training.

This entry was posted in bbc, Blandin Foundation, IRBC, 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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