Blandin Broadband e-News December 2016: Community broadband moves forward

A recap of posts from November…BBC Map

Broadband 101: Bits vs Byte and A-CAM

With new communities and new policymakers, BoB will be focusing on some expository pieces, such as the difference between bits and bytes and A-CAM, the smaller providers’ CAF (Connection America Fund) options.

Broadband saves $11,000 a year

The Internet Innovation Alliance releases annual research indicating that households with broadband can save $11,219 annually; that includes the average cost of broadband.

Telecom Industry in MN has $900 million impact

The Hudson Report looks at economic impact of the rural broadband industry. They found the impact in Minnesota was $911.3 million; of that $279.1 million went to rural areas and $632.2 million to urban.

MN Border to Border Grants

Communities sent in their applications for broadband funds. The Office of Broadband Development received $70 million in requests, which is twice the allocated $35 million. Incumbent providers had until November 7 to lodge any challenges to the requests in their area (or nearby area).

Minnesota is Number One for Internet Usage

According the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, 83.1 percent of Minnesotans, or 4,307,850 households, used the internet. That makes us number one.

Minnesota Broadband Task Force to recommend $100 million

The Task Force met to comb through the latest iteration of their annual report. After a heated debate they agreed to recommend $10 million for the OBD and $100 million ($50 million per year) for grants.

Local Broadband News

Carlton County
Carlton County recognizes Blandin investment to support local broadband expansion.

Central Woodlands
Central Woodlands (a self-defined community that spans portions of Mille Lacs, Kanabec, Pine and Aitkin counties) recognize Blandin investment to support local broadband expansion.

Chisago County
Chisago County recognizes Blandin investment to support local broadband expansion.

Local news covers Blandin Foundation’s recent trip to Chisago County to learn more about broadband projects.

Dakota County
Whitetail Woods Park in Dakota County has wifi at speeds of 40-60Mbps – for many good reasons.

Iron Range
The IRRRB and Blandin Foundation work together to support six Iron Range communities expand broadband. The new communities met at the end of November. Local news sources covered the good news.

Laporte, Becida and Solway
Fiber comes to Laporte, Becida, and Solway through Paul Bunyan Communications.

Lake County
CTC to manage Lake Connections Broadband

Martin County celebrates BBC participation
Martin County recognizes $86,600 of Blandin investment to support local broadband expansion

The University of Minnesota is home to a nonprofit that helps gamers get into the business of gaming.

AT&T deploys mmWave to Uptown apartment buildings, bringing fast connections via fixed wireless from building to building.

Nobles County
Nobles County recognizes Blandin investment to support local broadband expansion

Red Lake Nation
Red Lake Nation one of the first reservations to get a Gig; thanks to Paul Bunyan

Redwood County
Redwood County recognizes $90,848 of Blandin investment to support local broadband expansion

Sibley County
Sibley County’s Mark Erickson talks about how to promote community broadband in a Trump Era.

Southern Minnesota
Hurricane Electric and Neutral Path Communications are collaborating to bring dark fiber to light in Rochester, Minneapolis, Mankato Belle Plaine, LaSalle and Windom.

Southwestern Minnesota
Lincoln, Murray and Pipestone Counties are working together to improve broadband. Broadband coach Bill Coleman spoke to each community in November.

Spring Grove
Spring Grove gets a nod for their work in telemedicine in a report from Foundation for Rural Service and the Rural Telephone Finance Cooperative

Upcoming Events

  • Nov 10 –Webinar Archive: Census 2020: The Count Starts Now
  • Dec 13- Webinar on how to Nominate a Digital Inclusion Leader for Next Century Cities and Google Fiber Award
  • Dec 15 – Minnesota Broadband Task Force meeting
  • March 6, 2017 – deadline for Vodafone Wireless Innovation Project grants applications due

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

Recently I read Doug Dawson’s blog post ( on the branding efforts of rural broadband providers. At the same time,  I was doing presentations on the Intelligent Community framework which includes Advocacy as one of six elements. In this framework, Advocacy deals with a community’s messaging to its own residents and to the outside world – in essence, a community brand.

What is your community’s brand?  Is it tied to the past or the future?  What assets are you promoting? How do you differentiate your community from other Minnesota communities or the countless other communities around our country and the world.  After all, all communities are competing for talent and investment. Why stay?  Why choose to come?

Dawson makes a very important point in his blog…a brand must be true or it will ring hollow.  It seems to me that as communities pursue new brands based on broadband, technology and innovation, these brands must have a future orientation that emphasizes the pursuit of progress with ready examples of strategies and projects.

So, my advice… if your community is in the midst or considering a branding initiative, consider an emphasis on people power, rather than the more standard geographic feature or heritage.

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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