Blandin Broadband eNews: MN Broadband grants announced

DEED announces Border to Border grant recipients for 2017

Lt. Governor Tina Smith announces $26 Million grants for 39 Broadband Projects Across Greater Minnesota. The newest round of grants expands high-speed internet access to 9,973 households, 2,169 businesses, and 60 community institutions in Greater Minnesota. The new state grant funding will leverage an additional $34 million in private and local funding. They also released the challenges raised against the proposals.

Republicans celebrate Minnesota Broadband Grants
The Minnesota Senate Republican Caucus celebrates Republic support of the Minnesota Broadband grants with the following:

What’s happening with the FCC?

The hot topic of course is Net Neutrality. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai introduced his plan for reversing the net neutrality regulations on November 21; the FCC is scheduled to vote on Pai’s proposal on December 14. It’s interesting to look at several sides of the issue. (And to note that Senators Klobuchar, Franken and others ask the FCC to reconsider proposed changes.

But Net Neutrality isn’t the only issue. The FCC proposes changes to Lifeline that will impact users and potential users. They are also intervening in a court case in order to help Charter Communications avoid utility-style consumer protections related to its phone service in Minnesota. The FCC and Charter both want to avoid a precedent that could lead other states to impose stricter consumer protection rules on VoIP phone service offered by cable companies.

Local Broadband News

Aitkin County
Details on MN State Broadband Grant in Aitkin County

Balaton & Milroy
Details on MN State Broadband Grant in Balaton and Milroy

Paul Bunyan Communications wins international innovation award

Carlton County
Details on the MN Broadband Grant in Carlton County

Douglas County
Details on Minnesota Broadband grants in Douglas County

Ely reports on the 2017 MN Broadband conference

Main Street Gibbon is getting a 3D printing, made possible by FTTP

Goodhue County
Details on MN Broadband grant in Goodhue County

Hibbing & Chisholm
Hibbing and Chisholm public libraries add Internet resources for patrons

Itasca County
Itasca County’s view of the MN Broadband Conference

Itasca County, St. Louis County, and Hubbard County
Paul Bunyan awarded Minnesota Broadband Grant for portions of Itasca County, St. Louis County, and Hubbard County

Jackson County
Broadband makes the shortlist of topics Sen Klobuchar discusses in Jackson County

Kanabec County
CenturyLink expands internet access to parts of Kanabec County

Lake County
Lake County is required to pay broadband contractor remaining $2 million

AT& T plans to launch 5G in Minneapolis in time for Super Bowl

Nobles County
Better broadband expansion could mean economic boost in Nobles County

Pipestone County
Details on Minnesota Broadband grant in Pipestone County

Red Wing
US Ignite adds Red Wing Ignite to Smart Gigabit Communities Program

Resilient Region
Resilient Region’s take on the Minnesota Broadband Conference

St Louis County
Details on St Louis County MN Broadband Grant

St Louis County experiencing problems with Frontier Communications

Sunrise Township
The Humphrey School recognizes Sunrise Township for their innovative local government public-private broadband solution

Details on Wadena MN Broadband Grant

Upcoming Events & Opportunities

  • Nov 9 – Blandin Webinar Archive: Homework Gap: How Lack of Broadband Hinders K-12 Education
  • Dec 7 – MN Task Force Meeting
  • Dec 14 – Blandin Webinar: The Online Health Care Experience
  • Dec 15 application deadline for Smart City Readiness Challenge Grant
  • Jan 11 – Blandin Webinar: Tele-work, Telecommuting and Home-Based Businesses
  • Feb 10 – application deadline for 10-week summer program for underrepresented coding undergrads – with stipend- at NCSA

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

Ice fishing is one of my favorite winter recreation activities, but this year is proving problematic.  You can’t ice fish without ice and good ice is highly preferable to thin ice. We Minnesotans even have rules about ice – four inches to walk, 12 inches for a car.  All of my ice fishing preparation, experience and equipment is useless without ice.  It’s hard to plan for ice fishing with no ice and no one wants to fall through the ice and suffer possible deadly consequences.   If there was ice, I would make a reservation at a resort or possibly purchase a better fish house or sonar flasher that would make me a more productive ice angler.  This uncertainty is frustrating me and financially hurting the resort owner,  the sporting goods retailer and the many others that would like to sell me stuff and experiences.

Seems that those hoping for rural broadband deployment face a similar kind of uncertainty.  We have the broadband benchmarks for effective broadband use – 25 Mb/3 Mb by 2022, 100 Mb/20 Mb by 2026, with Gigabit as the endgame.  Those places without quality broadband are now walking on thin ice: opportunities are falling through; businesses are stagnant praying for walk-in customers; and community leaders hoping for a reasonable provider partner solution.

Here in Minnesota, we can confidently rely on our northern climate to eventually provide real winter weather, at most, maybe a week or two late.  For communities lacking quality broadband, there is no such reassurance.  Dedicated community leaders need to act like the great north wind and create the necessary environment for broadband deployment.  So if you want to start this conversation in a fish house or anywhere else in your community, apply for Community Broadband Resources assistance at I encourage you to get organized now to begin work early in the new year!

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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