Oct 8-10 – MN Fall BB Conference – Innovation: Putting Broadband to Work
This three-day conference at the beautiful Grand View Lodge in Nisswa, MN will offer learning and engagement on many aspects of the challenges and benefits of broadband access and use, from “Pursuing Broadband 101,” to digital inclusion tools and strategies for diverse audiences. https://wp.me/p3if7-52i Registration opens soon.
New MN county broadband maps are out
The Office of Broadband Development unveils the latest Broadband County Maps. https://wp.me/p3if7-57h Check them out to see how your county ranks for access to 25 Mbps down and 3 up https://wp.me/p3if7-57p or 100/20 https://wp.me/p3if7-57s.
MN with better broadband speeds that other Midwest States
Roberto Gallardo (Purdue University) looks at Midwest urban and rural access to broadband speeds. Minnesota does best with equitably access to the highest speeds measured (Gig). https://wp.me/p3if7-58m
Interactive broadband map of MN based on speed tests
NEO Partners unveils an interactive map created from speed tests It highlights served (faster than 25 Mbps download) and unserved (slower than 25 Mbps) areas. https://wp.me/p3if7-57J
MN Contingency heads to NYC
Blandin Foundation takes a contingency to the Intelligent Community Forum Global Summit where community members learned from award-winning smart communities. Having broadband is only one ingredient to success, now Minnesotans are armed and inspired to create more ingredients. https://wp.me/p3if7-56s
On the Minnesota policy front…
- MN Broadband Coalition meets to celebrate success and plan for more https://wp.me/p3if7-57A
- Senator Westrom celebrates agriculture, rural development and housing budget bill https://wp.me/p3if7-578
- Rep Layman recaps legislative session, including money for broadband https://wp.me/p3if7-56R
- Gov Walz signs the agriculture, rural development and housing budget bill including funds for broadband https://wp.me/p3if7-56q
- Rep Marquardt recognizes good work of Office of Broadband Development https://wp.me/p3if7-564
And national policy front…
- Senators introduce $5 Billion American Broadband Buildout Act https://wp.me/p3if7-58u
- Illinois Congressional Delegation tells FCC to improve rural broadband maps https://wp.me/p3if7-57C
- FCC authorizes $166.8 million in funding over the next decade; $3.3 million for MN https://wp.me/p3if7-56o
- FCC proposes cap to fund used to close the digital divide https://wp.me/p3if7-56g
- AT&T invests $325 million over 3-year period in MN https://wp.me/p3if7-58c
- AcenTek improves time to revenue by simplifying operations with Calix AXOS https://wp.me/p3if7-57a
- MoffettNathanson says CenturyLink might as well keep residential customers https://wp.me/p3if7-56Q
- Kristi Westbrock is featured in ISE Mag https://wp.me/p3if7-56N
- Frontier plans to sell assets in three states; Minnesota is not one of them https://wp.me/p3if7-56K
- Sanford-TytoCare and Best Buy partner to bring more telehealth service to the home https://wp.me/p3if7-56i
Local Broadband News
Blandin Foundation Strut Your Stuff Tour in Cannon Falls highlights use of technology to build a food brand and more https://wp.me/p3if7-576
It could be up to five years before customers in smaller cities like Fargo and Bismarck can expect to see 5G https://wp.me/p3if7-570
Paul Bunyan Communications announces construction of new customer service and technology center in Grand Rapids https://wp.me/p3if7-58i
International Falls Journal says broadband touches us all https://wp.me/p3if7-56Y
Kandiyohi County moves forward with broadband engineering study https://wp.me/p3if7-57l
Growth & Justice unveils latest chapter (economic development) of their Blueprint in Little Falls https://wp.me/p3if7-58g
Technology makes it easier for seniors to stay at home in Northeastern MN https://wp.me/p3if7-56a
Renville & Sibley Counties
RS Fiber and HBC form long-term agreement and plan expansions https://wp.me/p3if7-56I
Blandin Foundation Strut Your Stuff Tour in Rock County highlights hotspots in libraries, buses and camping sites as well as programming https://wp.me/p3if7-57e
St Louis County
There was a meeting in St Louis County to talk about partnership and preparing for MN broadband grants. https://wp.me/p3if7-585 Local media look at it as an opportunity to get ready for better broadband https://wp.me/p3if7-58s
“I need better internet period!” says local business in St Louis County https://wp.me/p3if7-589
Local business needs better broadband to grow in St Louis County https://wp.me/p3if7-587
Fiber to the farm means food to the people in St Louis County https://wp.me/p3if7-57R
Stearns County recognizes the one-two-three public punch at broadband expansion https://wp.me/p3if7-568
Blandin Foundation Strut Your Stuff Tour in Swift County highlights hybrid welding classes, 4H app, STEM for kids and more https://wp.me/p3if7-57n
Upcoming Events and Opportunities
- July 17, 2019: Application deadline for FCC Precision Agriculture Task Force https://wp.me/p3if7-572
- Sep 6, 2019: Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities https://wp.me/p3if7-574
- Sep 30, 2019: Deadline for RUS Broadband Program applications https://wp.me/p3if7-4RF
- Sep 24-25: Internet2 Third National Research Platform Workshop https://wp.me/p3if7-55s
- Oct 8-10: Innovation: Putting Broadband to Work (Nisswa, MN) https://wp.me/p3if7-52i
- JOB OPPORTUNITY: Director of State Broadband and Telecommunications Access (WI) https://wp.me/p3if7-58e
- Blandin Foundation unveils new blog of tools and stories to help rural community leaders https://wp.me/p3if7-56U
Stirring the Pot – by Bill Coleman
Decisions are not getting any easier for community leaders working on broadband. The pressure to do something is increasing as the impact of being un- or underserved mount, yet new wireless technologies are providing more strategy options.
Consider just these two alternatives from the many out there for consideration:
- A cooperative telephone company operating nearby offers to partner on a fiber to the home project that will provide gigabit service to everyone in the area. The project will require relatively large grants from both the state broadband program and from the county.
- A wireless company offers to partner with the county to offer services in the rural countryside that will offer 100 Mb/20 Mb service to 80% of rural residents. Implementation of the project will require a moderate sized state grant, but no county contribution.
These two simple examples require local leaders to make judgments that they may feel unqualified to make, considering the following questions:
- Fiber can deliver gigabit speeds both up and down and more. Wireless can now meet the 2026 state goal. Will wireless meet the needs of farms, resorts, students and tele-workers far into the future? What else could our county do with those local grant funds? Would fiber provide a long-term strategic advantage for our area?
- Will state grant makers grant our county the necessary large grant to make our project feasible or will they pass us by for solutions that serve more people at lower cost? Conversely, will state funders favor more high-capacity, future-resilient technologies?
- What about the 20% of rural households that would not be served with the wireless solution?
- If we only have an opportunity for one state grant, what is it that we really want long-term for our citizens?
Reaching a consensus on these questions will drive each community’s unique broadband solution. “Go slow to go fast” is wise advice that apparently goes back Rome’s Augustus. I suggest that you take that advice as you consider your options.