Blandin on Broadband eNews: Minnesota Monthly Recap (July 2019): New County Maps are Out

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. Registration opens soon.

New MN county broadband maps are out
The Office of Broadband Development unveils the latest Broadband County Maps. Check them out to see how your county ranks for access to 25 Mbps down and 3 up or 100/20

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).

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.

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.

On the Minnesota policy front…

And national policy front…

Vendor News

Local Broadband News

Cannon Falls
Blandin Foundation Strut Your Stuff Tour in Cannon Falls highlights use of technology to build a food brand and more

Fargo (ND)
It could be up to five years before customers in smaller cities like Fargo and Bismarck can expect to see 5G

Grand Rapids
Paul Bunyan Communications announces construction of new customer service and technology center in Grand Rapids

International Falls
International Falls Journal says broadband touches us all

Kandiyohi County
Kandiyohi County moves forward with broadband engineering study

Little Falls
Growth & Justice unveils latest chapter (economic development) of their Blueprint in Little Falls

Northeastern MN
Technology makes it easier for seniors to stay at home in Northeastern MN

Renville & Sibley Counties
RS Fiber and HBC form long-term agreement and plan expansions

Rock County
Blandin Foundation Strut Your Stuff Tour in Rock County highlights hotspots in libraries, buses and camping sites as well as programming

St Louis County
There was a meeting in St Louis County to talk about partnership and preparing for MN broadband grants. Local media look at it as an opportunity to get ready for better broadband

“I need better internet period!” says local business in St Louis County

Local business needs better broadband to grow in St Louis County

Fiber to the farm means food to the people in St Louis County

Stearns County
Stearns County recognizes the one-two-three public punch at broadband expansion

Swift County
Blandin Foundation Strut Your Stuff Tour in Swift County highlights hybrid welding classes, 4H app, STEM for kids and more


Upcoming Events and 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

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

This entry was posted in Blandin Foundation, MN, 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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