Tower struts broadband stuff: feasibility study, projects in the schools and more

Yesterday, we met with folks from Tower to talk about broadband projects in the area.

Here’s a shortlist of what’s happening:

In the schools
Their first focus was education. In the grade school we have a mobile computer lab with 16 ipads. They also use it for community education.

At the country (charter) school – they’re working on 3 smartboards.  And they are working on a computer lab using 12 computers from PCs for People. They’ll be using it so high school seniors can work with seniors to increase digital skills. And we’re looking at bringing fiber into the school – a new provider will try to get Frontier’s portion of the fiber. They are also looking on VR googles for virtual field trips.

There’s a new Administrator at the charter school and that will really help lift awareness. We might even be able to get into some remote music classes.

Frontier
People are losing their phone lines (they are broken) for weeks at a time and Frontier has still not been fixed. We are waiting for better broadband and better phones.

Everyone is excited to move away from Frontier.

Feasibility Study
They have made progress. It sounds like it’s a family affair with one family taking charge to make things happen. We’ve been trying to get townships to help fund a study. Our goal is $75,000 and we’re getting closer. The results will be there for everyone but it would be nice to get a wider base for information – especially when it comes to encouraging people to take the market survey.

Public Wifi
We will have wifi for the Depot and the Farmers Market. This means people can use Square-type e-commerce payment tools. They are also putting hotspots into the campground – very soon.

PCs for People
We have 12 people ready for computers. We put up a poster at the food shelf and that was an effective way to get the message out. And kids want them for school. Adults are now able to take online classes. Word of mouth has been one of the strongest marketing tools.

Soudan Township – public access
Public kiosk for computer and internet access in the new townhall.

Website for Tower
Working on an upgrade for the community. The old Content Management System is no longer distributed. So we need a better solution.

Future programs
It would be nice to get kids teaching digital skills – many even from different communities.

This entry was posted in Conferences, IRBC, MN 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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