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. https://wp.me/p3if7-4mg

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. https://wp.me/p3if7-4ix

CentruryLink News
CentutryLink’s acquisition of Level 3 on track. Also, the Court ordered CenturyLink to improve pricing transparency for customers. https://wp.me/p3if7-4lX

Blandin releases report from 2015-2016
Blandin Foundation releases the Assessment of Blandin Community Broadband Program using the Mountain of Accountability Framework (2015-2016) https://wp.me/p3if7-4io

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. https://wp.me/p3if7-4hS

Burnsville
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 https://wp.me/p3if7-4ir

Cook County
CoBank releases a case study of Cook County MN and their experience building a case, building partnerships, building broadband https://wp.me/p3if7-4i2

Ely
Ely is doing a broadband feasibility; community input is requested https://wp.me/p3if7-4im

Kandiyohi County
Kandiyohi County gets fixed wireless broadband https://wp.me/p3if7-4l0

Lanesboro
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. https://wp.me/p3if7-4m6

Meeker County
In an effort to support local manufacturing, Meeker County is looking at improving broadband. https://wp.me/p3if7-4lP Part of that process is asking residents for their input https://wp.me/p3if7-4iS

Minnesota
Minnesota becomes 23rd state to ‘opt-in’ to FirstNet https://wp.me/p3if7-4i9

Nobles County
$2.57 million in tax abatement bonds proposed for broadband in Nobles County https://wp.me/p3if7-4ls

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. https://wp.me/p3if7-4hM

Rochester
Rochester looks at hat goes into a decision for municipal broadband https://wp.me/p3if7-4kR

The Post Bulletin looks at how broadband helps remove obstructions to health care in Minnesota https://wp.me/p3if7-4kP

Southwest Minnesota
AT&T brings a faster network to Southwest Minnesota https://wp.me/p3if7-4iD

Upcoming Events & Opportunities

  • Nov 9 – Blandin Webinar: Homework Gap: How Lack of Broadband Hinders K-12 Education https://wp.me/p3if7-4lZ
  • Nov 22 – Nomination deadline for MN Excellence in Economic Development Awards http://wp.me/p3if7-4hD
  • Dec 7 – MN Task Force Meeting http://tinyurl.com/zszfk7d
  • 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 http://tech.mn/events/. 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

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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