Enhancing Our Regional Broadband Capacity: 7W MN Regional broadband (Benton, Sherburne, Stearns and Wright counties)

The Enhancing Our Regional Broadband Capacity had 40+ people in attendance. The presenters included several elected officials, community leaders, business owners and providers. We heard about the importance of surveys and mapping that paints a real picture of the frontlines and advantage of thinking regionally to get everyone online.

Welcome/Introduction by Raeanne Danielowski, (Chair, Sherburne County Board)
Presentation on true speed for Region 7W (Benton, Sherburne, Stearns and Wright counties) as a baseline for where we are today.
Speaker: Diane Wells, Office of Broadband Development, (see PPT)
10:50 to 11:10 a.m. Panel: What activities are currently in the works to enhance broadband capacity
Jolene Foss, facilitator: Panel features in-progress projects in Region 7W. Panelists include:

  • Darek Vetsch, Wright County Commissioner
  • Tarryl Clark, Stearns County Commissioner
  • Jared Gapinski, Benton County Commissioner
  • Raeanne Danielowski, Sherburne County Commissioner

11:15 to 11:35 a.m. Panel: Economic opportunities associated with enhanced broadband
Don Hickman, facilitator: Private sector and education leaders will explore the potential for enhanced broadband. Panelists include:

  • Alise Sjostrom, Red Head Creamery in Brooten
  • Dr. Annesa Cheek, President, St. Cloud Technical and Community College
  • Angie Brick, Rotochopper, Inc., St. Martin
  • Amanda Othoudt, Benton Economic Development Partnership

11:35 to 11:50 a.m. Panel: Moving to action
Patti Gartland, facilitator: Panel will explore key next in expanding the region’s broadband capacity. Panelists include:

  • Laura Kangas, Arvig
  • Nathan Zacharias, Rural Broadband Coalition
  • Melissa Wolf, Mid-Continent TeleCo

Closing comments: Nancy Hoffman, Chisago County Economic Development, will share insights into a successful project in Chisago County

Added handout: NACO Broadband Task Force report

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