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. https://wp.me/p3if7-4np They also released the challenges raised against the proposals. https://wp.me/p3if7-4oN

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. https://wp.me/p3if7-4nt 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. https://wp.me/p3if7-4oC (And to note that Senators Klobuchar, Franken and others ask the FCC to reconsider proposed changes. https://wp.me/p3if7-4mV)

But Net Neutrality isn’t the only issue. The FCC proposes changes to Lifeline that will impact users and potential users. https://wp.me/p3if7-4nf 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. https://wp.me/p3if7-4mD

Local Broadband News

Aitkin County
Details on MN State Broadband Grant in Aitkin County https://wp.me/p3if7-4oA

Balaton & Milroy
Details on MN State Broadband Grant in Balaton and Milroy https://wp.me/p3if7-4nH

Bemidji
Paul Bunyan Communications wins international innovation award https://wp.me/p3if7-4nh

Carlton County
Details on the MN Broadband Grant in Carlton County https://wp.me/p3if7-4og

Douglas County
Details on Minnesota Broadband grants in Douglas County https://wp.me/p3if7-4oo

Ely
Ely reports on the 2017 MN Broadband conference https://wp.me/p3if7-4nd

Gibbon
Main Street Gibbon is getting a 3D printing, made possible by FTTP https://wp.me/p3if7-4mF

Goodhue County
Details on MN Broadband grant in Goodhue County https://wp.me/p3if7-4ow

Hibbing & Chisholm
Hibbing and Chisholm public libraries add Internet resources for patrons https://wp.me/p3if7-4oe

Itasca County
Itasca County’s view of the MN Broadband Conference https://wp.me/p3if7-4n1

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

Jackson County
Broadband makes the shortlist of topics Sen Klobuchar discusses in Jackson County https://wp.me/p3if7-4mL

Kanabec County
CenturyLink expands internet access to parts of Kanabec County https://wp.me/p3if7-4mJ

Lake County
Lake County is required to pay broadband contractor remaining $2 million https://wp.me/p3if7-4mz

Minneapolis
AT& T plans to launch 5G in Minneapolis in time for Super Bowl https://wp.me/p3if7-4mR

Nobles County
Better broadband expansion could mean economic boost in Nobles County https://wp.me/p3if7-4n9

Pipestone County
Details on Minnesota Broadband grant in Pipestone County https://wp.me/p3if7-4oq

Red Wing
US Ignite adds Red Wing Ignite to Smart Gigabit Communities Program https://wp.me/p3if7-4om

Resilient Region
Resilient Region’s take on the Minnesota Broadband Conference https://wp.me/p3if7-4nl

St Louis County
Details on St Louis County MN Broadband Grant https://wp.me/p3if7-4oy

St Louis County experiencing problems with Frontier Communications https://wp.me/p3if7-4nZ

Sunrise Township
The Humphrey School recognizes Sunrise Township for their innovative local government public-private broadband solution https://wp.me/p3if7-4nb

Wadena
Details on Wadena MN Broadband Grant https://wp.me/p3if7-4oE

Upcoming Events & Opportunities

  • Nov 9 – Blandin Webinar Archive: Homework Gap: How Lack of Broadband Hinders K-12 Education https://wp.me/p3if7-4mH
  • Dec 7 – MN Task Force Meeting http://tinyurl.com/zszfk7d
  • Dec 14 – Blandin Webinar: The Online Health Care Experience
  • Dec 15 application deadline for Smart City Readiness Challenge Grant https://wp.me/p3if7-4nv
  • 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 https://wp.me/p3if7-4o1

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

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 http://broadband.blandinfoundation.org. 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

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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