Blandin Broadband eNews: Reports and questions about federal maps

Border to Border Broadband: Transforming Minnesota Oct 23-24
Join policymakers, economic and community development professionals and community broadband champions from across the state for this annual opportunity to learn, connect and engage.

Is CAF 2 A Good Investment?
The Blandin Foundation releases a report on the networks being built with federal funding (CAF 2) given to large, price cap carriers in Minnesota. Based on field reports, many areas served will not have access to meet state speed goals of 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up even after the investment.

Learn more at a webinar on Thursday, July 19 from 3-4pm: “Leveraging CAF II Dollars to Bring World-Class Broadband to your Community”

Are the Federal broadband maps accurate?
Trade publication, New Food Economy, questions the accuracy and validity of the federal broadband maps, which are instrumental in determining policies and subsidies used to expand broadband access.

Helping Kids without Broadband
Consortium for School Networking releases a toolkit to help close the homework gaps for kids without broadband.

National Broadband Listening Sessions Start in Minnesota
Farm Foundation, NTCA, CoBank, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corp. and USDA held a broadband listening session in Faribault. Minnesota was posited as a model state for supporting rural broadband. Attendees asked questions about CAF 2 funding.

Daily Yonder features Blandin Case Study
The Daily Yonder features the Blandin’s Case Studies Measuring the Impact of Broadband in Five Minnesota Communities and the formulas used to factor the community return on public investment of broadband.

Federal Policies – actions and notes

Provider News

Local Broadband News

Representative Kiel and Senator Johnson talk about broadband and upcoming listening sessions

Ely uses first fiber connection to connect a coworking space

Gibbon celebrates their FTTH connectivity with a new 3D printer on Main Street

Granite Falls
Granite Falls is host to a statewide planning session where broadband becomes a table topic

Lake County
NBC draws from Lake County for story of broadband success and cites recent Blandin report

Lake Park
Lake Park citizens tell Senators Utke and Green that they want better broadband and ask about Net Neutrality

Frustrated citizen in Minnetrista wonders why the city doesn’t have broadband

Northwestern Minnesota
AT&T is investing in northwestern Minnesota

Rock County
Rock County is selected as a Blandin Broadband Community

St Paul / Minneapolis
The NDIA ranks worst connected cities: St Paul is #74 and Minneapolis #120

Outside News Related to MN

North Carolina
North Carolina sees Minnesota broadband plan as model

West Virginia
West Virginia is looking to Minnesota (Blandin) research report for path for better broadband

Lack of rural broadband is hurting business – reprinted letter from Inter-County Leader

Upcoming Events & Opportunities

We are looking to add MN broadband-related events to the Blandin on Broadband blog calendar. If you have an event you’d like to add please send it to

Stirring the Pot – by Bill Coleman

On Minnesota’s broadband maps, far too much of greater Minnesota is still unserved. If you zoom into the map, however, you will see that most towns are considered served, with 100 Mb/20 Mb service available, areas outside cities and towns are not.  Many communities have three wired providers for businesses and key community institutions or community-wide.  That is good news.

In pre-Internet days, I managed the state’s business retention and expansion (BRE) program; training and assisting community teams to interview businesses, identify key issues and provide assistance to spur growth of investment and employment.  Today, tech use would be a key BRE element, not only for businesses, but also checking up on chambers of commerce, schools, health care providers and local governments.  As people make decisions on where to live and invest, a town lacking in apparent tech savvy will lose out to places with a tech edge.

For many towns, lack of broadband service can no longer be an excuse for not keeping up with tech trends.  Seek out partnerships to promote available broadband and tech support services.  Convene institutional leaders to create and pursue a shared vision of tech adoption, for tech-based economic development leadership.  If broadband access is still an issue, due to capacity, price and/or reliability, use these same leaders to work intensively on this issue as well as utilization.

Need to know how to get started?  Blandin’s recent case study on broadband ROI is a rich resource illustrating what five smart communities are doing to promote a tech workforce and organizational innovation.  They are successfully branding themselves as high tech rural places. These efforts are increasingly inclusive and sustainable.  The Intelligent Community Forum ( has a treasure trove of information on the global competition for people and investment.

My advice: Follow suit or get left behind!

This entry was posted in uncategorized 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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