Metcalfe’s Law says that a network’s value is proportional to the square of the number of nodes in the network. In short, the more people in the network, the greater the value for everyone – not just for the new people. In Blandin Foundation’s work that means that each time a community gets broadband, it increases the value for that community and for those of us already online. We can buy or sell to that community, we can learn from or teach that community, government services can be provided online, saving taxpayers. The list goes on.
To help grow the network, Blandin Foundation is offering intensive Community Broadband Resources (CBR) assistance with a new initiative: CBR: Accelerate! They will be working with Kanabec, Pine, and Aitkin Counties and Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. These are communities that need better broadband. They are near the bottom ranking communities in the state. This isn’t due to lack of effort or interest, but more because of the characteristics in the community – difficult terrain, lower population density, or other.
Turns out approaching some of these communities requires more and different efforts than communities with engaged providers or higher population density. It’s like the difference between running a 10K and doing a triathlon – a very different race, so Blandin has created a different training program. CBR: Accelerate! is a fifteen-week program, delivered online, will bring the CBR resources of coaching, leadership development, data analysis, and provider relationships to community leaders for the purpose of developing a plan to implement broadband infrastructure deployment projects.
The CBR: Accelerate! program starts today. I hope it is an energizing and fun as the first day of school for the participants. I’m hoping to get updates and share their progress over the next 15 weeks. We wish them well!