Iron Range Broadband Communities – it’s more than wires connecting!

The IRBCs (Iron Range Broadband Communities) met up last week to check in and re-energize with the Blandin Foundation team. I was lucky enough to be there.

These checks always serve to remind me that broadband isn’t an issue – it’s a solution. It’s a way to bring generations together (when kids teach seniors how to use computer) to help people stay in their homes longer with programming for seniors and caregivers to help with education when kids have computers and access to do school work at home. The IRBCs spoke about these programs and more – very specifically their feasibility study. Because broadband is a solution – but it’s only a solution for those who have it. And most of the communities on the Iron Range are trying to improve their access.

The also got a great presentation from Mark Zimmerman at the Itasca Economic Development Corporation. He spoke about how Itasca worked with Blandin to take on their challenges with digital inclusion programming and a feasibility study.

Folks noted that this was the first time the communities had really worked as a unit. And it was going well! I know that probably means tamping down some hockey rivalries – but especially for broadband, the regional approach is better. A regional approach helps fill “dead zones” that are just outside towns. Areas with lower population density but still benefit from full access to affordable, fast broadband.

This entry was posted in bbc, Blandin Foundation, IRBC, MN by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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