Catching up with broadband projects in Aitkin MN: Hotspots that have encouraged private investment in FTTH, landing page, training

Today we’re in Aitkin talking with people about their broadband projects.  They have been part of a project (IRBC) with the Blandin Foundation and IRRRB focused on increasing use of broadband in the area. I’ll include full notes below – but a couple of highlights…

We learned that when people don’t have broadband, that’s all they want to talk about. The broadband expansions in the area have made a huge difference. This was an area that lacked access so effort has been spent on increasing access with hotspots in the library, buses, for checkout and in community centers. It’s been nice to se private investment follow the interest in the hotspots. There have also been efforts, such as remote training and a landing page that encourage use.

Above and Beyond Projects

  • SCI bringing fiber into Palisade, starting in July , 110 homes and businesses, privately funded, completed in the summer 2018 – it helps that the community was looking at other economic development efforts. Once you get started in one area, it becomes easier to look at others.
  • Lisa Kruse,$5000 cohort grant working with McGregor Chamber of Commerce who has hired Red House Media for community marketing, including a landing page.
  • The Butler Project is researching Co-Work space for the Butler Building

Long Distance Learning

  • The rooms are done.
  • Planning a multi-location event on getting and keeping good talent and time with marketing specialist

ECRL Mobile WiFI

  • 14 unites for checkout at Aitkin and McGregor Libraries abs ECRL Outreach locations in Aitkin County

Aitkin HS, WiFi enables Buses

  • 4 portable unites moved amount the buses
  • Works well

Long Lake Conservation Center

  • The center was down daily – now it isn’t.
  • Installed Exede satellite – which was better than Frontier, which had slowed down and become unreliable.

WiFi at Berglund Park

  • The project continues – more focus on Palisade

New Landing Page

PCs for People

  • 82 Computers were given out
  • Could give out more if there are some

Hotspots in Pallisade

  • A network of 9 hotspots and repeaters
  • Can get a range of info to track use and need for growth (Average use be day is 154.3MB)
  • Top aps used: iTunes, Facebook, Web, Snapchat, Blogger,
  • Not running a filter
  • Splash page with acceptable use policy – and space to sell ads to help sustain
  • Use is expanding demand – especially with young people who might be likely to sell it to their parents

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