Blandin Broadband eNews: Archive of the Broadband Conference Notes from the Task Force

2017 Border to Border Broadband Conference
The conference was a big success. Here are links to sessions from the event:

Minnesota Broadband Task Force finalizing their report
The MN Broadband Task Force met in November to tie up loose ends of the upcoming report. They talked about updating the projected cost to get broadband to everyone in Minnesota; with lots of caveats, they came up with a number of $5,527 per passing or a total of almost $1.4 billion to reach all of the unserved households.

They also met in October when discussion was on cybersecurity. They decided that the main tenet for their upcoming report would be to recommend continued support of the Office of Broadband Development and continued funding for grants.

CentruryLink News
CentutryLink’s acquisition of Level 3 on track. Also, the Court ordered CenturyLink to improve pricing transparency for customers.

Blandin releases report from 2015-2016
Blandin Foundation releases the Assessment of Blandin Community Broadband Program using the Mountain of Accountability Framework (2015-2016)

Political views from candidates, elected officials and others…

Local Broadband News

Benton, Morrison, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd and Wright Counties
Great River Regional Library (GRRL) provides library services in Benton, Morrison, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd and Wright Counties. Patron Internet use has seen a dramatic growth, from 134,000 patron Internet sessions in 2004 to 264,000 in 2009, a 97 percent increase.

Despite its proximity to the Cities, even parts of Burnsville can feel unserved to folks who don’t have enough broadband to do what they want to do online

Cook County
CoBank releases a case study of Cook County MN and their experience building a case, building partnerships, building broadband

Ely is doing a broadband feasibility; community input is requested

Kandiyohi County
Kandiyohi County gets fixed wireless broadband

In September, Fillmore County and AcenTek broke ground to mark the start of building a Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) network in the rural town of Lanesboro, Minnesota.

Meeker County
In an effort to support local manufacturing, Meeker County is looking at improving broadband. Part of that process is asking residents for their input

Minnesota becomes 23rd state to ‘opt-in’ to FirstNet

Nobles County
$2.57 million in tax abatement bonds proposed for broadband in Nobles County

Resilient Region (Region 5)
Wadena Pioneer Journal provides an update on the multi-year, multi-million dollar project aimed at bringing high-speed internet access to all residents in Region 5.

Rochester looks at hat goes into a decision for municipal broadband

The Post Bulletin looks at how broadband helps remove obstructions to health care in Minnesota

Southwest Minnesota
AT&T brings a faster network to Southwest Minnesota

Upcoming Events & Opportunities

  • Nov 9 – Blandin Webinar: Homework Gap: How Lack of Broadband Hinders K-12 Education
  • Nov 22 – Nomination deadline for MN Excellence in Economic Development Awards
  • Dec 7 – MN Task Force Meeting
  • Dec 14 – Blandin Webinar: The Online Health Care Experience
  • Jan 11 – Blandin Webinar: Tele-work, Telecommuting and Home-Based Businesses

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 Pot

Thanks to all who attended the broadband conference.  I have been to many such conferences both here in Minnesota and elsewhere and I have to say that this was a very good event.  Those who could not attend can check out the videos and PowerPoints listed above.

We had a great mix of community and regional leaders and tech vendors, especially many providers seeking community partners.  Noticeably absent were some of our largest providers which was their loss.  Special thanks to all of our presenters – from the pre-conference sessions to the learning stations.

For years, my presentations to community leaders were future-oriented – that broadband would be a necessity.  That the future is now.  Roberto Gallardo provided great data linking broadband availability and adoption to population and economic growth and also the inverse.  Our Minnesota case study project, led by Ann Treacy and supported by the testimony of our case study participants, demonstrates that smart economic development strategies built on a base of great broadband is enabling a clear separation between thriving and struggling rural communities.  The huge opportunity cost paid by broadband starved communities is evident as they focus on better broadband rather than marketing, workforce development, innovation and tech adoption.

My advice to those communities with great broadband: continue to partner with your providers to spur community transformation.  For those still seeking better broadband: double your efforts on network deployment, but don’t forget adoption efforts.  As people and investment increasingly choose well-connected communities, it will be increasingly hard to catch up.

This entry was posted in Blandin Foundation, 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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