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. 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…

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 https://wp.me/p3if7-576

Fargo (ND)
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

Grand Rapids
Paul Bunyan Communications announces construction of new customer service and technology center in Grand Rapids https://wp.me/p3if7-58i

International Falls
International Falls Journal says broadband touches us all https://wp.me/p3if7-56Y

Kandiyohi County
Kandiyohi County moves forward with broadband engineering study https://wp.me/p3if7-57l

Little Falls
Growth & Justice unveils latest chapter (economic development) of their Blueprint in Little Falls https://wp.me/p3if7-58g

Northeastern MN
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

Rock County
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
Stearns County recognizes the one-two-three public punch at broadband expansion https://wp.me/p3if7-568

Swift County
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

We are looking to add MN broadband-related events to the Blandin on Broadband blog calendar. https://wp.me/P3if7-4yG If you have an event you’d like to add please send it to atreacy@treacyinfo.com

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

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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