Blandin Broadband eNews: Federal and MN policymakers on broadband

Blandin Foundation Seeking New Minnesota Broadband Ranking
The Economist’s Inclusive Internet Index ranks Minnesota third in the US based Availability, Affordability, Relevance and Readiness. US News and World Report ranks Minnesota seventh for broadband.

Minnesota Task Force Talks Super Bowl and Wireless
The Task Force learned about the ins and outs of the communication technology around the Super Bowl. They also heard from a fixed wireless provider. It led to some interesting discussions about the definition of broadband. (There was also article on fixed wireless in the Minneapolis Star Tribune soon after the Task Force meeting.

Apply for the Blandin Broadband Communities program
Blandin Foundation is currently seeking four new Blandin Broadband Communities for a 2018-20 cohort.

Minnesota Cooperatives
Minnesota Cooperatives gather to talk about cooperative role in creating a winning broadband strategy for Minnesota.

Minnesota Legislature – actions and reactions

Federal Legislature – notes

Provider News

Local Broadband News

A crowd of 20 gather to talk about better broadband, to hear about CAF II and perspectives from local broadband haves and have-nots. Attendees included providers, community leaders and Rep Steve Green, Rep Matt Bliss and Andy Martin from Sen Klobuchar’s office.

Slow broadband may be hurting your chance for a BWCA permit

Ely uses feasibility study to come up with better broadband scenarios for the community

Chippewa County
Chippewa County takes a closer look at broadband plans with feasibility study

Faribault County
Faribault County supports funding for broadband in libraries

Fergus Falls
A crowd of 50 gather to talk about better broadband, to hear about CAF II, local need and progress experienced by Otter Tail County. Attendees included providers, community leaders and Rep Jeff Backer, Rep Paul Anderson, Rep Bud Nornes and representatives from Sen Klobuchar and Sen Smith.

Hennepin County
Commerce Secretary appoints FirstNet Board Members, including Hennepin County Sheriff

Iron Range
Fifty senior citizens and people with disabilities receive free computers and classes from Access North Center for Independent Living with Blandin Foundation support.

About 25 people gather to talk about better broadband, to hear about CAF II, and the trials and tribulations of local community activity, especially in Kandiyohi County. Attendees included Rep Dave Baker, Rep Dean Urdahl, Chuck Ackman from Sen Klobuchar’s office and Jackie Anderson from Rep Peterson’s.

About 60 people gather to talk about better broadband, to hear about CAF II and talk about difficulty of ubiquitous broadband in the area. Attendees included Rep Jason Rarick, Sen Tony Lourey, Sen Mark Koran, Representatives from Sen Klobuchar, Congressman Nolan and Sen Smith.

Mower County
Rural Mower County MN homes could get access to high-speed internet

There is frustration in Orr with Middle Mile access not coming to the door

Red Wing
Ignite Minnesota Initiative launches to advance new technologies for Rural America

Stearns County
Stearns County asks policymakers to add broadband to their to do list

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

Over the past weeks, I have been privileged to participate in a number of events hosted by regional development commissions and an Initiative Foundation.  Attendees have included county commissioners, town board members, legislators, tribal government staff, Internet service providers, economic developers, school technologists, bankers and residents.  When we start these sessions with introductions and a “what is your broadband story?” icebreaker, the rural voice is clear.  Local officials are clearly ready to partner to bring quality, ubiquitous broadband services to their residents so identifying quality provider partners is a top priority.

It is great to hear the success stories where broadband has recently been deployed or where solid plans are in place for the next 24 months.  These efforts will turn their county from unserved red to well-served green on the DEED broadband maps.  It is fun to hear these project champions give Blandin Foundation a measure of credit for the assistance received from either or both of Blandin’s Community Broadband Resources and Robust Network Feasibility Fund programs.   Details on these programs can be found here:  Both programs help communities be better prepared to attract a private sector partner and to access state or federal broadband funding programs. We often see countywide initiatives through these programs, but the determination of the best geography is a local decision.

  • Communities can receive up to 32 hours of technical assistance through the CBR program to launch broadband initiatives – community meetings, broadband inventory and assessment, community surveys, etc.
  • The Feasibility Study program provides a grant of up to $25,000 to hire engineering and finance consultants to do more in-depth analysis of alternative broadband improvement strategies.

Contact us to discuss how we can help!

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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