Thanks to Michael Curri of Strategic Networks Group (www.sngroup.com) for a very interesting and informative presentation on the uses of data to justify broadband investments. Every stakeholder group – community members, business owners, elected officials, broadband providers, funders – has a unique set of Return on Investment measures by which they will consider participation and measure success. Michael’s presentation provides an overview of those measures.
Participants raised many questions about broadband investment, including discussion of a changed mindset that would treat broadband infrastructure more like roads, a part of the public investment strategy to supports economic development. We also talked about the economic and business benefits to increased broadband and technology sophistication. An interesting point was made about that jobs created by a rural-based company may now be filled by people who are working online from another location. We often think about remote rural workers teleworking to jobs in the metro area; the Internet is a two-way street which reinforces the need to build a local knowledge workforce.
Congratulations to Becky Lourey and her company Nemadji. After years of seeking better broadband, they are about to get it through a new fiber extension by SCI, a regional broadband provider in east central Minnesota. As a result, Nemadji will now have a redundant Internet connection and all residents of Bruno, population 102 in northern Pine County, will have fiber to the home Internet services!
Next week, August 4th, Bernadine Joselyn will lead a presentation and discussion about the new Connected MN program and how that will benefit Minnesota students in the months ahead. Register at broadband.blandinfoundation.org under the webinar heading.