In mid-November, community leaders in Pipestone County met to talk about the need for broadband in their area. According to the Pipestone County Star…
Pipestone County is part of that unserved and underserved rural America, and the lack of connectivity creates challenges that can limit economic development, quality of life and growth.
“We are restricted with what we can do to improve our facility with automation because of our service,” said Chad Magnuson, manager of Simplot in Hatfield.
The ag retailer, as with many in rural Pipestone County, has only DSL service available. Magnuson described it as slow and intermittent with outages and downtime. As the company improves its facilities and services, they’ve buried fiber on the property past the incoming line. But there’s nothing connecting that fiber to the rest of the world.
“Our challenge is, we need fiber buried to the location,” he said.
The meeting was well attended…
That assistance last week took the form of community meetings, the one for Pipestone County held at the Emergency Services Building on Monday evening. About 20 people showed up, with several sharing the difficulties and challenges of life without reliable and fast internet service.
“It’s clear people are suffering without broadband,” Coleman said.
Sharon Hanson, Pipestone County administrator, said they not only heard from businesses and agri-businesses like Simplot, but from parents and grandparents who live in the technological ‘black hole,’ from educators and students who find it difficult to participate with online classes, and from home-based businesses that rely upon connectivity.
Then the meeting was followed up a couple weeks later with a strategic planning meeting where the decision was made to make broadband part of their plans…
Short-term action steps
•Determine what amenities are desired
•Identify where economic opportunities can be increased
•Communicate state and city incentives to potential businesses
•Facilitate community conversations
•Develop a steakhouse
Mid-term action steps
•Repurpose the Central School property
•Create a new industrial park
•Increase broadband access
•Engage Minnesota West to provide workforce training
•Expand community trails
Long-term action steps
•Develop a better solution for the Senior Center
•Have a visual/arts center in the existing Senior Center
•Develop a plan and funding for Main Street retail