Blandin Broadband eNews: Federal and MN policymakers on broadband

Map of MN broadband grant projects

Definition of Broadband Matters

The FCC releases a report that shows access to broadband increases from 89.4 percent in 2014 to 95 percent in 2016. The increase is in part result of the satellite coverage being counted as broadband for the first time with the 2016 report.

Minnesotans Need Broadband for Healthcare and Insurance
A White Paper done by FAIR Health reports that Minnesota has one of the greatest number of claims with telehealth usage. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Medicaid applicants report needing better broadband to access tools to continue their health coverage if Medicaid laws change.

Minnesota Rural Equity Project
The Minnesota Rural Equity Project identifies legislative priorities for revitalizing local economies and reducing disparities in Greater Minnesota. According to their research, 47.12 percent of households in rural Minnesota lack access to broadband. They are pushing the state to extend its grant program for broadband and make it more accessible.

Reports on Impact of Broadband and Economic Development
The Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that in 10 years the digital economy grew 5.6 percent compared to overall economic growth of 1.5 percent. The National League of Cities releases a report that calls out broadband as a tool to bridge the rural-urban economic divide. The Foundation for Rural Service reports that transactional value of the Internet in rural American is nearly $1.4 trillion.

Blandin Foundation News

Minnesota Legislature – actions and reactions

Federal Legislature and Funding Notes

Provider News

Local Broadband News

Fiber brings Delta Dental and 150 new jobs to Bemidji×0

New London Spicer
Seniors get tech training from high school kids in New London Spicer

Wilkin County
Wilkin County policymakers are interested in broadband funding

Gary Evans, former CEO of HBC, talks about getting broadband to Winona and beyond×6

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

Earlier in this E-news blast, you should have seen some details about applying to become a Blandin Broadband Community (BBC).  I would like to fill in more details about why you should consider this intensive initiative for your community.

  • If you have connectivity challenges, becoming a BBC can help align your community leadership to pursue better broadband infrastructure and services while implementing short-term connectivity projects.
  • If you have good broadband in place, but not seeing much change in community tech vitality, the BBC program can spur more sophisticated technology use through shared learning and collaboration experiences.
  • If no organization is working to address digital equity so that all residents have a device, a connection and computer skills, then the BBC program will shine a spotlight on and provide resources to address this critical issue.

In rural communities, great broadband infrastructure is an essential element of community competitiveness, but building infrastructure is not enough.  Becoming a BBC will create a lasting platform for ongoing community innovation and investment.

I highly recommend it!

This entry was posted in Blandin Foundation, MN, Policy 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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