MN Broadband Task Force May 2018 meeting notes: Updates, Cyber Security, Education Superhighway and Blockchain

Today the Broadband Task Force got updates from the Office of Broadband Development and on the legislative activity. They discussed plans for the final report. They also heard from experts on cyber security at the State, the Education Superhighways (nice update on e-rate and impact on Minnesota Schools) and a presentation on bitcoin and blockchain.

Full notes:

10:10 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. Update from Office of Broadband Development

We are busy with

  • Administering the broadband grants and scheduling visits – in a short-handed office – we hope to have a new person next Wednesday.
  • We are supporting the legislative process – with the financial piece and the various amendments
  • Minnesota continues to be highlighted for the good work with broadband. Spoke to regional folks lately and a group of utilities.
  • We are looking to see if what we’re doing in MN could scale nationally. We’ve consulted with 10 other states that are interested in our process.
  • IN Missouri, they are trying to change legislation and put the mechanics in place to have a similar process.
  • The cable association is also looking at what’s happening here.

How can we let the legislators know how good the OBD is?
We are telling them

Update from John Dukich

12 days to end of legislature.

BB funding is lumped into supplemental budget bill
House & Senate have each put in $15 million; Governor says $30 million
House added an amendment – that allows satellite to be included as eligible expense with consumer subsidies.
Senate added an amendment – that prioritizes providers that commit to Net Neutrality

The Task Force finds both amendments are not helpful – the Net Neutrality piece is not relevant to the program.
Garofalo is on the Conference Committee. He is a proponent of satellite.

10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. Discussion of Task Force Annual Report Structure and Timeline

MAK – Because there will be a change in Governor, this is a chance to educate the next governor about what we have done and what the status of broadband is. We can look at the future and what we can see coming. What policies do we need to look at in the short term future.
Do we say something about the Task Force? Who should be on it? Should it still exist?
What is our timeline?

BJ – We are organized into sub committees. We created ideas in those meetings. I’ve brought up before the idea of using this report as a road map to get to our 2026 goals – 100/20. Let’s consider that. It creates a framework that helps move the Minnesota model (that other states are looking at) forward.

One outcome we might see – is the need for the Task Force and continued public investment in broadband. The framework helps underscore the need.

We had some suggestions for things like a survey – but maybe we need to suggest that the next Task Force take that on.

We have two goals – we can talk about how to achieve those goals.

We should also provide some history. If we can say we’ve narrowed the gap – it might help more it forward. Blandin has done work with economic impact of broadband. Comcast has some info we could use.

Think of what it would be like without state funding. We’d have federal funds (CAF II, A-CAM) and providers would invest what they would invest but that’s it.

There’s a piece about goals and a piece about how to get it done. That leads to the stories. We can talk about 25/3 and queue it up for the next people to focus on 100/20.

It would be good to get feedback from key stakeholders – talk about the need.

Can we tell a few stories? Talk about rural. Talk about urban – like virtual school days.
We need to remind people that the Task Force isn’t just rural.

Maybe we can create an outline and help John write the report this year. Maybe next step is get an outline together that we can agree on.

It would be nice to include stories of people who get broadband through the state funding. I spoke with the MN Broadband Coalition about how they could get their stories into the report.

We need to talk about who is the audience, what is the purpose, what is the case we’re trying to make.

We write it for Governor Dayton, but we know it would likely be used by the next governor. This is directed at policy makers.

Can we gather third party testimonials about the success in Minnesota?

It would be nice to use infographics – maybe a timeline.

Introducing new Task for Member from CWA – Michael Nguyen  who works for AT&T used to work for CenturyLink

11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  Cybersecurity Update from Minnesota IT Services
Aaron Call, Chief Information Security Officer, Minnesota IT Services

Three cyber security risks:

  • Fraudsters (financial gain) – data theft, ransomware
  • Hacktivists (civic disobedience) – denial of service, data disclosure
  • National State (Civil unrest) – data theft and destruction, denial of service, persistent infiltration

By the numbers

  • 75% of perpetrated by external actors
  • 93% web application compromises associated with organized crime
  • 43% breaches involved attacks on users
  • 98% systems compromised in minutes
  • 50% victims notified by third party of law enforcement

Enterprise Security Obstacles

  • Historical underinvestment – 2% of IT spend, some agencies with no dedicated budget, lack of process maturity
  • Decentralized IT environments – overlapping technologies, extremely costly to secure
  • Outdated business systems – security issues no longer fixed by vendors, cannot run on secure OS

Service delivery model

  • Centralized services
  • Info Security Program Mgmt
  • Endpoint defense
  • Boundary defense
  • Vulnerability mgmt.
  • Incident response
  • Monitoring

Local services

  • Secure engineering
  • Risk mgmt.

Policies and Standards

Strategic Plan

Trying to hire more people – there’s a salary difference so we try to offer things that other places can’t. But we know we will be hiring often and that most new hires will be fresh out of school. We are a training ground for corporations.


  • Focus on business risk
  • Communicate – Created a risk score card – available to folks who are interested.
  • Seek external assistance – it’s a collaborative field
  • Plan for failure

Basic Security Controls

  • Inventory and control of hardware
  • Inventory and control of software
  • Continuous vulnerability mgmt.
  • Controlled admin privileges
  • Secure configuration for hardware & software
  • Maintenance, monitoring and analysis of systems.

How does MN compare?
We are consolidated and have deeper knowledge and that helps. We are one of ten states that seem to be forward working. We are set up for success – even if we might be underfunded.

Johanna Clyborne, Commissioner, Minnesota IT Services

How can we better align government tech services we provider with what’s happening in the private sector – business, schools, nonprofits… We assume that the best ideas come from the largest resource but that isn’t the case. We want a diversity of problem solvers helping us create a solution.

My goal: Minnesota IT is the premier provider in the state through tools, processes and people.

Minnesota Legislature has a bill to limit MNIT severely. Consolidation has been very helpful; unfortunately the legislature is looking at deconsolidation. Agencies struggle is flexibility and addressing some individual needs.

Cyber security spend in MN has been 2 percent; private investment in non-risk business has been 4-5 percent; higher risk (hospitals) spend 7-10 percent on security.

It’s not a matter of *if* but a matter of  *when*. There is a bad guy (or gal) behind every tree. When people lose faith, you can’t buy it back. Task Forces can help us stay abreast of what we need to know. Help us be good stewards of the tax payer funding.

State IT is not broken. There are a lot of things MNIT does well. But when the roll outs go well, the agencies get the credit, which is as it should be. Putting MNIT under Admin will not help.

The Governor has a budget request for security – conversely there’s another approach where the agencies are asked to spend 3.5 percent of their existing budget on cyber security – it would equal $3.5 million – not the $20 million MNIT needs.

Is the kill MNIT bill partisan?

I am not partisan – but I’m used to people wanting to fix problems. It’s more nuanced in the legislature. Much of the House is up for election so I am lobbying both sides. There’s a lot of blame. Not sure if this is a decrease government bill because it runs contrary to price reduction.

Sometimes when legislators can’t control much – they try to control something. MNIT was actually a republican construct, maybe they need to remember that. Maybe we need to remind people that it’s about safety, not partisan.

In the k12 world – what is the relationship between Dep of Education and MNIT? Do you analysis of student privacy? There are two bills at the legislature now.

Dep of Ed has a CIO at the agency and there’s someone at MNIT that will look at impact of bill. The agency is really in charge of that – we just inform the agency. The policy is the responsibility of the agency (such as Dep of Ed).

Many k12 schools get their connectivity through the state – therefore we do protect and monitor the traffic.

The schools may need policy analysis. The person who will need to implement the policy may be the best expert.

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Education Super Highway
Jeff Kang, Greer Ahlquist and Madeline Zdeblick


  • Making sure schools have a fiber connection
  • Making sure schools have enough bandwidth
    Making sure every classroom has access to robust wifi

What do they do:

  • Work with 1500 school districts
  • Strive to get good data

Review of E-Rate – $4 billion available annually for schools



  • 99% fiber to schools (up from 85%
  • 99% broadband to schools (up from 76%)
  • We look at fiber as the Holy Grail of broadband – although we are starting to look at other options and cost
  • There are difficulties in measuring wifi access

SWWC School district got a tech upgrade from Microwave to Fiber thanks to

Here are the comparison bandwidth & cost

Avg bandwidth per district: 100 Mbps

Avg bandwidth per district: 1 Gig
Cost/Mbps $1.40

Why do some schools not apply?

Some schools don’t think they qualify
Some don’t have match
The administration and paperwork can be overwhelming

Why do they not get funding?

Not most cost effective option
Red tape

Schools can get up to $150 per student

By the numbers:

  • 32.5M more students gained access to broadband in last 4 years
  • 88% of schools have sufficient wifi
  • 78% decline in the cost of internet access
  • 2,049 schools still need fiber

Moving forward…

  • Data – better data helps with planning, procurement and policy
  • Consortia – consortia have helped schools – how can we continue that?
  • Charters, BIE and other entities – connecting with others (right now only 50% of charters access e-rate)
  • State Support – Lots of collaboration and telecom equity aid

What about broadband in students’ homes?

2:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. An Introduction to Blockchain & Cryptocurrency
Stephanie Stoudt-Hansen & others

Block Chain started in 2009 – it takes out the intermediaries in financial transactions
By 2025 – $176B in opportunity

Block Chain is a decentralized leger – it’s like a shared spread sheet where users are constant validating the accounts. Where a bank is the central resources, block chain is a crowdsource. One info is validated it becomes a block. It is created out of the history of the block, which makes it more difficult to hack. It is immutable – once the info is there, it’s there.

Any place where you have a transaction and can validate it is a good use of block chain.

You need a lot of broadband throughput to handle blockchain.

Bitcoin is the only successful blockchain effort right now.


  • Througput
  • Eases of integration
  • privacy

Cryptocurrency is the most successful blockchain right now – it’s anonymous. It’s decentralized. Pretty hack proof.

How to get bitcoins

  • Bitcoin miners
  • Selling products directly online
  • Buy Bitcoins outright at bitcoin exchange markets

Globally every vertical is testing blockchain

SuperValu and Medtronic are looking into blockchain – with farming.

Illinois is using/looking into blockchain

ISO IDMP standards – will be pushing the factor from Europe for medicine

2:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.  Wrap-up/June Meeting Plans

1 thought on “MN Broadband Task Force May 2018 meeting notes: Updates, Cyber Security, Education Superhighway and Blockchain

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s