Blandin Broadband eNews: Net Neutrality and MN policymakers on broadband

MN Broadband Task Force formalizes report
The Minnesota Broadband Task Force met to make final edits to their annual report. They have two recommendations:

  • Provide $71.482 million in ongoing biennial funding for the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program, until the state achieves its broadband speed goal.
  • Provide the Office of Broadband Development with $250,000 per year in ongoing funding, until the state achieves its broadband speed goal.

Minnesota Policymakers on Broadband

Literature Review on Impact of Broadband
A new report out of Purdue University looks at the impact of broadband on economic development, migration and civic engagement, education, telework, telehealth, smart cities and agriculture.

Repeal of Net Neutrality
The FCC repealed Net Neutrality. Many are concerned about what that will mean for consumers. Smaller providers (especially) are steadfast that this will not mean a change for customers and many are more focused on the impact of discrepancy between Title 1 and Title 2 providers. There is an effort to benchmark broadband costs now to compare to prices once the repeal goes into effect.

Local Broadband News

Big Stone, Swift, Lac qui Parle, Chippewa and Yellow Medicine Counties
Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Center tracks broadband speeds in various points of their region. The results are informal but reflective.

Dakota County
Dakota County looks at Rights of Way and Broadband Joint Powers

New Ulm
NU-Telecom purchases RRCNet, the high school run network

Sherburne County
More details Sherburne County’s MN broadband grant project

Upcoming Events & Opportunities

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 – by Bill Coleman

While I have my own set of personal resolutions again this year,  I have also created a short list around my broadband work.  Here they are:

Get smarter about broadband co-ops

RS Fiber has shown that it is possible to create a new broadband cooperative and the citizens in their area are experiencing the benefits of ubiquitous high-speed broadband. Meanwhile, other communities are talking about the co-op model, but have not yet followed on this complex path. My resolution is to dig in on co-op formation and share what I learn.

Public policy advocacy

Broadband has moved from a “someday this will be important to your community” consideration to a “no one is coming to a place without quality broadband” crisis for rural Minnesota.  It is clear that no provider, whether publicly traded, co-op or government utility, can conventionally finance 100% of the required investment for a quality rural broadband network.  My resolution is to think and act more strategically about influencing public policy about broadband to benefit rural Minnesota.

Economic development

Roberto Gallardo’s Digital Divide Index illustrates the strong relationship between rural broadband availability and enhanced economic vitality.  We know from observation that access does not guarantee widespread effective use.  I resolve to help rural communities design and implement strategies that directly improves business and workforce outcomes.

Resolutions are always more fun when it is a group activity.  Who is in?

This entry was posted in 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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