Cooperatives Excel at rural broadband – how can we help?
The Institute for Local Self Reliance looks at how communities can help cooperatives bring better broadband to rural areas. https://wp.me/p3if7-5H4
Change in .org ownership
Historically the .org top level domain has been reserved (and later simply encouraged) for nonprofits. A private company just bought the .org registry; it will be interesting to see the impact. https://wp.me/p3if7-5GH
Blandin Matrix of Broadband Projects
Blandin Foundation posts an updated version of the Blandin Broadband Communities project matrix. It includes brief descriptions of projects supported by Blandin and deployed by BBC participants. https://wp.me/p3if7-5G3
MN Broadband Task Force
The latest iteration of the Minnesota Broadband Task Force met for the first time in December. Members talk about why they wanted to be a part of local broadband decision making. (Includes video.) https://wp.me/p3if7-5FZ
State Policy Issues
- Five ways State Policy can support or deter rural broadband https://wp.me/p3if7-5Hf
- Senator Jeremy Miller remembers investment in broadband https://wp.me/p3if7-5GK
- Broadband means more than just connectivity; it means productivity in rural MN https://wp.me/p3if7-5GD
- Rob Ecklund promotes broadband investment with state surplus https://wp.me/p3if7-5FJ
- Minnesota has surplus estimated at $1.3 billion https://wp.me/p3if7-5Fn
- Will your county get paper Census surveys? Maps reveal access forms https://wp.me/p3if7-5Fg
Federal Policy Issues
- 2019 USDA highlights investments and accomplishments https://wp.me/p3if7-5Hi
- New Next Century Cities Toolkit supports Census 2020 outreach https://wp.me/p3if7-5H9
- USDA to Make $550 million in broadband funding available in 2020 https://wp.me/p3if7-5Gz
- Farm to farm telehealth – can it help curb rural suicide rates? https://wp.me/p3if7-5G9
- Bernie Sanders proposes $150 billion broadband plan https://wp.me/p3if7-5FM
- FCC Announces plan to launch $9 billion 5G Fund for Rural America https://wp.me/p3if7-5Fk
- LTD Broadband gets funding for MN through CAF II https://wp.me/p3if7-5GR
Local Broadband News
Aitkin County’s Riverwood Healthcare Center gets telehealth help with Blandin Foundation support https://wp.me/p3if7-5FD
Paul Bunyan introduces GigaZone Blast Wi-Fi with Wi-Fi 6 technology https://wp.me/p3if7-5Hs
Cannon Falls memory care facility gets WellnessVR https://wp.me/p3if7-5Hm
Hibbing opens first co-working space https://wp.me/p3if7-5Gu
International Falls supports federal broadband investment https://wp.me/p3if7-5Gr
Kandiyohi County doing feasibility study to investigate broadband grant options https://wp.me/p3if7-5Hp
No more County-wide 911 outages in Lake County https://wp.me/p3if7-5FB
Senator Klobuchar’s team talks to Mankato about broadband, housing, transportation and childcare (video included) https://wp.me/p3if7-5GX
Waseca’s Theresa Sunde appointed to Minnesota Governor’s Broadband Task Force https://wp.me/p3if7-5Fy
White Earth Tribal Council and local Blandin Broadband Community partner on local WiFi access https://wp.me/p3if7-5FG
Senator Klobuchar’s team talks to Windom about broadband, housing, transportation and childcare (video included) https://wp.me/p3if7-5H1
Upcoming Events and Opportunities
- Jan 19: Science Kits for Public Libraries Grant Application https://wp.me/p3if7-5EY
- Jan 24: MN Broadband Task Force meeting https://wp.me/p3if7-5Hc
- Jan 24 deadline: Blandin Foundation is looking for 4 communities to expand local broadband innovation https://wp.me/p3if7-5EV
- Feb 10: 2020 Assistive Tech Challenge https://wp.me/p3if7-5GU
- Feb 18: MN Broadband Task Force meeting https://wp.me/p3if7-5Hc
Stirring the Pot – by Bill Coleman
Doug Dawson, in his always interesting blog “Pots and Pans”, has an informative article about Chattanooga and their efforts to support entrepreneurship, spur innovation and address digital equity (https://potsandpansbyccg.com/2020/01/06/leveraging-the-benefits-of-fiber/). I highly recommend that you subscribe to this blog as well as the Blandin on Broadband (blandinonbroadband.org) blog for daily updates on all things important to community broadband and economic development leaders.
Minnesota is lucky to have fiber networks like Chattanooga’s in many rural communities and counties. When you look at the DEED broadband maps, these areas shine bright green as having at least 100 Mb/20 Mb broadband service that includes all of the Fiber to the Home (FTTH) networks and most cable modem services. The 100% FTTH areas are likely have a minimum of symmetrical 100 Mb/100 Mb service and probably symmetrical Gigabit services available not only in the community, but also in the rural countryside. It is interesting, maybe even disturbing, that Chattanooga has established a national brand as a tech-centric, fiber-connected community while Minnesota’s thousands of square miles of fiber networks are virtually invisible on the national economic development scene.
Why? I think that while some Minnesota communities and regions are active in promoting some elements of technology-based economic development, it seems to me that they are too few in number, too limited in scope, and certainly, too limited in self-promotion. This is a missed opportunity for collaboration between communities and broadband providers, individually and collectively! If you think that I am wrong on this, let’s hear about it so we can promote it on the Blandin Blog!
If you think that your area has unrealized potential for technology-focused community vitality, you should know Blandin will soon be selecting four Blandin Broadband Communities shortly after the January 24th application deadline. In addition to community facilitation using the six element Intelligent Community framework (www.intelligentcommunity.org), the Foundation provides financial resources to implement projects to spur community vitality. The Blandin team is happy to help your cross-sector leadership team fully consider this program as an option for your community. Check out the program details at broadband.blandinfoundation.org.
Even if you decide to pass on the Blandin Broadband Communities opportunity, you should know that thirty-two hours of ad hoc community technical assistance is always easily available via Blandin’s Community Broadband Resources Program to help spur either broadband infrastructure, adoption and/or economic development initiatives.
Chattanooga’s municipal network ownership enables easy integration with other city initiatives. With private and even co-op ownership of most Minnesota’s broadband networks, it takes some additional effort for collaborative provider partnerships. More and more sophisticated broadband users are good for providers; they should be interested in helping your community to thrive via technology. I urge you to contact your broadband provider(s) to discuss partnership opportunities. In addition to the Blandin Broadband Communities Program, a good starting point would be completion of DEED’s new Telecommuter Ready (https://mn.gov/deed/programs-services/broadband/telecommuter-forward/) certification program.