In today’s Blandin Community Leadership Roundtable, Christopher Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) presented and discussed local community ownership models being implemented across the country as a way to bring the highest speed, lowest cost Internet services to their citizens. He also talked about the network as a community asset to promote economic development and digital equity initiatives. Scott County was cited as a model for economic development in using its network assets to attract data hungry companies. Chattanooga TN was recognized for using its network to provide broadband services to all of its citizens during the pandemic. We learned about how Dakota County is continuously seeking partnerships with other providers to expand and fortify its network.
Next week, in the final episode of this series, we will focus on what Minnesota local units of government are doing with CARES funding to further broadband access and adoption. Barbara Droher Kline, Le Sueur County’s Blandin Broadband Communities leader, will showcase how Le Sueur County is using its broadband planning efforts to allocate county funds and amplify Blandin funding.