Blandin on Broadband News: Aug 2019: Broadband grant applications are open

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.  Check out the agenda. Exhibitor and sponsorship opportunities are available 

Minnesota Broadband Grant Application are Open
The Office of Broadband Development is soliciting applications for the Border to Border Broadband grants. Deadline is September 13. But before you apply you must alert providers in the area by Aug 2.

Minnesota broadband: more ubiquitous, not fastest
PC Mag looked at broadband speeds by region and state. For fastest statewide access Minnesota ranks 8 out of 12 of North Central States with a speed of 67.2 Mbps (down). However, Roberto Gallardo also released a study that shows that looking at statewide access to gig broadband, Minnesota is in better shape that our neighbors.

Blandin Foundation is there is help with ICF Application
The Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) measures six inter-related indicators of a community’s competitiveness in the digital economy. It is a tool and an international competition. Blandin is holding a series of regional meeting to talk about the ICF process and offer assistance to communities interested in applying.

  • Red Wing Monday, August 12 9:00-10:30 am
  • Brainerd Tuesday, August 13 9:00-10:30 am
  • Bemidji Wednesday, August 14 9:30-11:00 am
  • Appleton Monday, August 19 1:00-2:30 pm

The Time is Now for Courageous Action
Dr. Kathleen Annette, president and CEO of Blandin Foundation reminds people that “The time is now.  To recognize racism and discrimination, to name and stop it when we see it.  To stand with those working to make our communities more welcoming….”

Minnesota policy front…

And national policy front…

Vendor News

  • CenturyLink under state investigation after hundreds of complaints of not responding to “call before digging” requests

Local Broadband News

CVS Health Rolls Out Telehealth to MN (and other states)

Aitkin County
Rural Minnesota Cooperatives partner to connect Aitkin County

Anoka County
Libraries without Boundaries, Dep of Education and local librarians meet with residents in a manufactured home cooperative community to discuss creating 21st century library services to suit their needs.

Beltrami County
Beltrami County in number one in Minnesota for access to Gigabit Internet Speeds

Fredenberg MN celebrates broadband – and looks at how it might happen in other areas

Lake County
Lake County Broadband is sold to Zito Media

Red Wing
Red Wing Ignite wins $750K Federal Grant

Poultry Patrol (think Roomba for chicken coops) is a great broadband application for farmers with broadband

Region Nine
Congrats to Nicole Griensewic Mickelson for ‘Friend of the CGMC’ award

St Paul
Verizon upgrades parts of St Paul to 5G 

Two Harbors
Two Harbors business comes for fiber also gets tech support

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

As I prepare to go on a nice vacation, I am looking at the calendar of upcoming meetings and presentations for which I need to prepare before getting on the airplane.  Right when I return, I need to do a Broadband 101 for a county board in south central Minnesota.  The first place I look to prepare is the Office of Broadband Development maps.  This is a rich source of information with various ways to display the data.  The question “How well are we connected?” is not as simple as it once was.  The maps, in their various forms, should be used as conversation starters, not as a place to find definitive answers.

I first look at the maps, then go to provider websites to get more detailed information.  The DEED provider database shows 13 wired and fixed wireless providers.  Speeds vary from symmetrical gigabit over fiber to 500 Mb symmetrical via fixed wireless to 100 Mb/40 Mb over DSL.  Three different fixed wireless providers show complete to partial coverage of the county.  Seems like this county is well served, yet when I look at the Border to Border Broadband grant eligibility map, the vast majority of the county is shown as unserved and grant eligible.  According to provider information, 82% of households have wired connections of 25 Mb/3 Mb while 78% have wired 100 Mb/20 Mb.  Ten percent have symmetrical gigabit coverage.

As I talk with county commissioners, I will be asking them the following:

  • *Do you believe that the maps and provider data are accurate?
  • *What are you hearing from constituents?
  • *What is “good enough” for your county?

These questions always stimulate interesting conversations.

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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