The whys and hows of getting broadband to rural Minnesota

The Initiative Foundation has an article on the whys and hows of rural broadband. Why we need it…

“Why do we need broadband? Because people without it are not able to participate in society,” said Bernadine Joselyn, director of public policy and engagement for the Blandin Foundation. “It’s not just about gaming and Netflix,” she said. “It’s about opportunity.”

And how rural communities can go about getting it, specially with help from Blandin Foundation…

Joselyn recommends that underserved communities band together to establish an advocacy team that’s willing to put in the work to engage and educate residents and to attract a provider.

To help communities get started, Blandin offers advocacy team leadership training, coaching, technical assistance and funding for feasibility studies and some broadband adoption projects. The local advocacy team develops the projects that will further the community’s technology goals, Joselyn said.

And potential partners…

Another useful strategy for community broadband advocates: Find a provider willing to be your partner. One such provider is CTC, a Brainerd-based telephone cooperative, which serves a wide area in Central Minnesota, reaching up into the Iron Range. Its FTTH networks provide speeds up to one gigabit (1,000 megabits) per second, both up and down.

The article includes some fun stories and added advice.

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