Blandin Broadband eNews: Broadband activity throughout Minnesota Monthly Recap

Blandin Community Broadband Program biennial assessment
The Blandin Foundation released an assessment of its broadband program from January 2017 through June 2018, which is the period of one Blandin Broadband Communities program cohort. 

MN PUC releases report on Frontier
MN PUC releases report on Frontier based on public meetings held throughout the summer. They highlight the most common issues cited by customers.

On the policy front…

Local Broadband News

Iron Range
Four Iron Range communities selected for Blandin Foundation Broadband Communities Program

Lake County
Lake County gets 4 bids for their fiber network

US Internet shares fiber expansion plan for 2019

Nobles and Watonwan counties in MN
SDN expands broadband to Nobles and Watonwan counties in MN

Renville & Sibley Counties
The Office of the Comptroller of Currency outlines the banking behind RS Fiber.

Todd County
USDA Partners with CTC to Broadband to Underserved Areas in Todd County

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

For many rural communities, the answer to the “what do you want for Christmas?” question is simple.  “Broadband!”

But broadband is a big ask and from my experience, Santa does not always deliver on the big asks.  We may get an envelope with some of the money, but we need to find a way to raise the rest though our own efforts.

This is the same with many broadband projects.  Even with provider contributions and hoped-for state and federal funding, the business case for a state of the art broadband network may be lacking.  Increasingly, we are seeing local governments contributing directly to broadband projects.  The willingness to contribute local funds shows that the community is a fully engaged project partner.  With local commitment, prospective competitive providers are encouraged to invest their own dollars and staff resources in project development.  Funders may be more confident of a successful project with local skin in the game.

I encourage community leaders to have the conversation about commitment of local resources upfront and among themselves.  Know the boundaries of your commitment.  Be prepared to negotiate with and as a reliable partner.  This will increase your ability to attract a provider partner and obtain project funding.  With prospective federal and state funding looming, the time for that conversation is now.

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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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