This morning I attended an abbreviated Task Force meeting. They spoke about upcoming legislation, to a couple of legislators and talked about plans for 2017 meetings, committees and streamlining the report writing.
I’ll post video here and follow with notes..
Update from Office of Broadband Development
- We announced the awards from the third round of the grants.
- 42 awards announced
The focus on a practical basis was unserved – most of the underserved locations were included in a larger project.
- 62 – applications
- $55M – total request
- $34M – total awards
- $40.3M – total match
- 18,989 locations served
- 18,370 – currently unserved locations
- 568 – underserved locations
- Challenges submitted – 44
- Number of challengers – 13
- Number of projects challenged – 28
- Numbers of challenges results in non-funding 6
Reasons to challenge:
- Services exist
- Services are planned
- Construction is underway.
A mapper has been chosen for the next round of maps.
Estimated goal number: 209,000 households do not have access to 25/3 broadband.
OBD is looking at Sunrise township, Mill Lacs Electric and fiber/wireless hybrid.
It will be interesting to keep an eye on the Hennepin County project
Update on the education awards: 12 school districts (our of 33 applied) each received about $50,000 to deploy wireless programs in their school – for wireless routers to check out for home use and/or outfitted buses with wifi networks.
Some schools have had trouble with filter and security measures – maybe Blandin can help us since they have funded projects that have solved these issues.
Governor has suggested $60 million in funding ($30M per year)
Working on prevailing wage issues – the problem is that there isn’t a good fit for contractor who work on fiber and the types of hours they work. (projects funded with more than $250,000 state funding need to adhere to prevailing wage)
Working on the ability to place wireless equipment on agriculture preserves. Normally no commerce-type items can be placed on such land.
Governor suggestions $74 million on cyber security
Talking about future meetings
- 5G – what can it do and how is it being deployed?
- Where are we with IoT?
- Large scale rural deployments (county and larger). How publicly traded companies
- ROI for communities that got funding and those who didn’t?
- TAP – and changes to TAP
- Education superhighway and new K12 initiatives
- Update from emergency services and use of the Internet (Public Safety)
- E-911 – and text to 911
- Connect Nations on Adoptions
- FCC participants in ACAM programs – Arvig is one of the largest users of ACAM in the country.
- Planning a road trip
Let’s try to start writing the report earlier this year. The committee work was really helpful last year and made the report writing much easier. Choosing topics/speakers that feed into the final report will be helpful.
Last year’s committees:
- Adoption & Affordability
- Emerging technologies
New ideas for committees
- Regulation and policy change
- Get economic impact of funded projects
- Public safety – cyber security focus for a year
- How broadband replaces what landlines used to do
Let’s look at 5G first -there’s a small cell bill right now and we might get called to testify.
Maybe we could look at FirstNet 911 first.
- If we get out work done the private sector can do what they do.
- Spoke to Ways & Means and get folks on board.
- I like the 2-year approach but we’re not mentioning numbers yet.
- I understand that $60M would help boost fiber.
- Spoke to Garofalo already – thanked him for his support for Greater MN and help keeping the topic relevant.
- So much more work to be done.
- What can we do to make it more efficient for the office?
- How can we get more miles (of broadband) for the money?
- I want to be a champion. Been talking with Kresha and an approach. We have some telecom issues we need to work out.
What makes a difference with your colleagues?
- Show us the results – outcomes
- Testimonials – from city officials
- What is going on with telemedicine?
- What’s going on with education?
- Efficient spending of money
- Working with CAF 2 funding with friends at CenturyLink
- This is a good bipartisan topic.
- I express my strong support.
- Leveraging works.
- Governor proposed $30M/30
- Sen Simonson – proposed $100M
- We may need to be tweaking of current process – maybe in terms of challenge process.
- Need to make sure there’s sufficient operating funds.
- Working with MNIT – need to work on cyber security. It’s an increasing issue. State of MN is very concerned.
- Computer donations are good
- Need to publicize low cost programs – like that from Comcast.
- Computers at the libraries are getting used – esp by kids of color. Need library access!
- Used to ride a school bus to school for an hour a day – glad to see bus time being used well with broadband.
- IN regards to transportation – we need to prepare for driverless cars.
- Regulatory reform – need to find compromise work with Andy Shriner (CenturyLInk) last year on some regulation.
- Need to balance regulation of industry with consumer protections
- Small cell wireless – rights of way is an issue.
- Need MTA and local telecom companies need to talk to their representatives – that would be helpful
Maybe it would be helpful for Baker & Johnson t talk to Freshman legislators about broadband. We have 25-30 people that we could talk to about it.
A concern with the challenge process is that there isn’t much accountability for incumbents