Virtual Conference! Oct 12-14
Registration is open for our annual broadband conference! We hope you can join us. The agenda will be released later this month.
Pre-Conference Regional Events
There will be a series of regional events happening leading up to and in conjunction with the Fall Broadband Conference on Oct 12-14. Some events are still being planned; here’s the information:
- September 16, 10-noon, virtual – Southeast & South Central Regions 9, 10 (More Information and Registration)
- September 16, 11am-noon, virtual – West Central Region 4 (Register here)
- September 16, afternoon – specific time TBD, – Southwest, Southwest Central, & Upper MN Valley Regions 6E, 6W, 8 virtual (More Information and Registration)
- September 22, 9-11am, virtual – Arrowhead Region 3 (More Information and Registration– Email Karl Schuettler with questions)
- September 23, 10:30-noon, St. Cloud State University Welcome Center – Central Region 7W (More Information and Registration– Email Don Hickman with questions)
- September 30, 7-8:30pm, virtual – North Central Region 5 – (Register Here)
- October 6, 3-4:30pm, virtual – East Central Region 7E + Aitkin County – (More Information and Registration)
- TBD – Northwest & Headwaters Regions 1, 2 – (more info soon)
Federal Changes maybe be long lasting
In redefining the speed goals for funding, the US Senate may have effectively boosted broadband speeds to 100/20. But the timing is good as Studies show the need for upload speeds increased during pandemic – and it’s likely to continue. Also access to broadband is credited for drawing in new residents to help boost population.
State Policy Issues (in reverse chronological order)
- Telehealth in MN – how to find it, what insurance pays for, how to get it
- Update on MN PUC’s vote to move forward with inquiry into Frontier investment plan
- Minnesota can fund broadband AND electric vehicles
- DEED announces $34.6 Million Awarded in Small Cities Coronavirus Funding
- How could the federal Infrastructure bill impact broadband in MN?
- A report on the status of broadband in many MN communities from Muninetworks
- MN ranks 30th for broadband for students
- Wisconsin looks at failed history of federal funding for broadband
- Word from Farmfest: “Broadband is crucial”
- A breakdown of what proposed federal infrastructure package in Senate would mean to Minnesota
Federal Policy Issues (in reverse chronological order)
- Rep. Angie Craig talks about rural broadband investment
- FCC data shows growing fiber, need for upload
- Sen Tina Smith on Impact of Major Federal Investments in Broadband in MN
- NTIA Establishes Two Broadband-Focused Offices
- Senator Smith says the Infrastructure will help for generations
- What about the RDOF areas that are already served?
- Federal Infrastructure Bill is one step closer after passing in the Senate
- A look at the proposed broadband stimulus from the consumer perspective – what has been lost?
- Senators Klobuchar and Smith and Rep Hagedorn note support for broadband in infrastructure bill
- Wall St Journal gives broadband view of proposed federal legislation for broadband funding
- ARPA County and Township Support Amounts Mapped by CNS
- FCC announces second ECF application window; $5.137 billion requested in first window
- Pew Reports on the Internet and the pandemic: almost half with broadband said they had problems with speed
- Minnesota requests almost $63 million from FCC’s n Emergency Connectivity Fund Program
- There’s a hiccup preventing some people from getting Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB)
- US Senate has plans for better broadband maps but not for a while
- Making the case for ongoing telehealth: the flu is contagious
- Zayo Announces 400Gig-Enabled Network – passes through MN
- Will supply chain issues hinder fiber deployment? AT&T say yes. Frontier, Lumen, Windstream say no.
- CenturyLink vs. Comcast Xfinity: Which is better for your home internet?
- CWA says Lumen (CenturyLink) is making the digital divide worse
- Lumen (CenturyLink) to sell to Apollo Funds but not in MN
Local Broadband News
MLEC is expanding FTTH in Aitkin County (MN)
Appleton, Benson, Madison and Redwood County
Appleton, Benson, Madison and Redwood County get grants from MN DEED
Walnut Grove and Redwood and Pine Counties
A look at broadband needs in rural MN: Walnut Grove, Redwood County and Pine County
Upcoming Events, Opportunities and Resources
- Sep 8 Lunch Bunch: Infrastructure
- Sep 13: Deleting the Broadband Affordability Divide with FCC Acting Chair Rosenworcel
- Sep 22: Lunch Bunch: Digital Use
- OPPORTUNITY: Free Chromebooks for MN Families in Need
- OPPORTUNITY: AmeriCorps VISTA Digital Literacy Project Proposals Request
- OPPORTUNITY: Dakota County RFP Systems Plan Update and Business Analysis
- OPPORTUNITY: Community Networks looking for Communities Looking for Low-Cost, Low-Hassle Broadband Financing: We Want to Hear From You
- OPPORTUNITY: Apply for Community Broadband Accelerate!
- OPPORTUNITY: Broadband grants in St. Louis County
- OPPORTUNITY: NTIA opens Applications for $268 Million Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program
- Past Lunch Bunch conversation: What is basic broadband and should we be aiming for it? (Video from session)
Stirring the Pot – by Bill Coleman
Keeping up with broadband news and information can be a challenge. Emerging state and federal funding programs, new technologies, and regulatory decisions are all in the news mix. How can community leaders keep up?
I have some trusted sources; I do consulting work for two of them. Here is a summary of what I read:
- Blandin on Broadband (of course!) Subscribe at www.blandinonbroadband.org. A great summary of everything Minnesota broadband. This blog is a great resource for daily news and also a great searchable archive for policy and strategy ideas.
- Pots and Pans by CCG. Subscribe at https://potsandpansbyccg.com. Doug Dawson, one of my favorite broadband consultants, provides daily, thoughtful essays on technology, telecom industry news, community broadband and consumer trends. This is a must-read for all community broadband advocates.
- Benton Institute for Broadband & Society Daily Digest. Subscribe at https://www.benton.org/headlines. I work on the Benton team for the Illinois Connected Communities Program. Benton provides a wide ranging broadband policy news digest on both broadband infrastructure and digital equity issues. They produce their own, high quality original research and spread the word on other policy papers and news.
- Telecompetitor. https://www.telecompetitor.com. This newsletter is tech and industry news heavy and has a bounty of advertising links.
- One final source that I look to is the NTCA. Here is a link to CEO Shirley Bloomfield’s blog – https://www.ntca.org/ruraliscool/newsroom/ceo-blog
This should keep everyone busy and informed. If you have other sources that you would like to share, let us know!