Last week a group met to talk about the potential role of cooperatives in bringing broadband to unserved rural areas. Minnesota has always done well with public private partnerships as a tool to expand broadband. There were several cooperative providers in the room, cooperatives who wanted to learn more and potential partners.
We started with a conversation on why Cooperatives and Broadband make sense
- Members trust their cooperatives
- Staff member have relationships with members
- Customer/billing system in place
- Fleet in place
- Aerial infrastructure
- Managed conservatively (cash available)
- Allowance for longer payback periods
- Relationship with financial institutions
- Smart Grid and other internal communications
- Cooperatives used to work toward reliability and growth. Growth has slowed, which may be an issue in being sustainable so maybe it’s a god time for electric to look at broadband especially if there are partnerships.
Then attendees heard from a number of people – here are the presentations below.
MN Office of Broadband Development Update Q1 2018
SmartGrid Broadband from Barry Electric
CAF II Case Study from Bill Coleman
Broadband Via Cooperatives – Electric and Telecom Partnerships from CNS