eNews: MN Monthly Recap: Broadband policy & COVID impact (Dec 2020)

Minnesota Broadband Task Force Nov Meeting
The Task Force discussed the upcoming annual report, which will include broadband recommendations. There is agreement that there should be ongoing funding for the grants and the Office of Broadband Development. No budget was confirmed but $75 million per biennium was mentioned. There was disagreement on a focus on unserved versus underserved. speed goals or benchmarks from 25/3 and 100/20 to 100/100 and concerns about role of OBD (and others) in terms of communications, coordination and regulation.

State Policy Issues (in reverse chronological order)

Federal Policy Issues (in reverse chronological order)

Impact of COVID-19

Vendor News

Local Broadband News 

Brown County
Brown County legislators look at issues, including funding for broadband grants

Carlton County
Incumbent Carlton County Board of Commissioners regain seats – recognize importance of broadband

Dakota and Winona Counties
HBC Expands Broadband in Rural Winona and Dakota Counties

East Iron Range
MN East (Iron) Range Broadband Feasibility Study Presentation: lessons for the area and beyond

Rochester
Mayo Clinic learns 10 years of telehealth in 6 months

Twin Cities
AT&T Donates $150,000 to Help Drive Economic Mobility and Social Equity for Underserved Communities in Minneapolis and St. Paul

Upcoming Events and Opportunities

Stirring the Pot – by Bill Coleman

Economic developers can get sidetracked from pursuing long-term strategies because of the latest crisis of the day.  Two examples in recent years are day care and housing shortages.  These days, CARES Fund initiatives for small business are hoarding valuable time.  Little time seems to be available for vision setting and strategic planning, but in a fast changing world, at least some time needs to be allocated for this purpose.

Communities interested in jumpstarting efforts to learn and respond to how they measure up on global economic competitiveness should complete and submit the Intelligent Community benchmarking questionnaire. 

Around the world, communities use the framework to create their vision and pursue a more competitive, equitable and sustainable future.  Each participating community receives a complimentary “snapshot” report and is entered into the Intelligent Community of the Year competition.  More information on the framework and the questionnaire can be found here: www.intelligentcommunity.org.  The submittal deadline is January 11th

Blandin Foundation has used the framework statewide for over a decade to help communities think about the importance of broadband infrastructure and services.  Over the past four years, Blandin and Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation have worked with ten northeastern Minnesota communities to improve access and use of broadband, building stronger and more vibrant communities.  The Foundation and Agency are now  working with partners to launch this work regionwide.

Completing the Intelligent Community benchmarking has two positive benefits.  Short-term, it is a chance to collect and analyze data as well as to showcase your community’s success stories.  More importantly, it is an opportunity to develop a powerful vision leading to an enhanced community and economic development future.  The questionnaire takes just a handful of hours to complete.  Give it a try!

This entry was posted in Blandin Foundation, MN by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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