eNews: MN Monthly Recap July 2022: Opportunities and Resources

Registration for the Fall Broadband conference is open!
Come to the Grand Casino Mille Lacs on October 11-13 to explore how to maximize public and private broadband investments in your community. Hear from communities who have forged the trail for better infrastructure and graduated from fighting for access to creating avenues for every community member to have the devices and skills they need. Registration is now open!

Update on LTD Broadband, potential RDOF award winner
The ongoing saga continues with LTD Broadband and their application for RDOF awards. They were awarded the sole opportunity apply for funding to expand fiber in much of Minnesota. The opportunity has been controversial; even the Wall St Journal has looked closer at the LTD-RDOF broadband situation. Some question their ability to fulfill the order, should they get it. To that end, Minnesota Telephone Alliance (MTA) and the Minnesota Rural Electric Association (MREA) filed with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, asking them to revoke the ETC status for LTD Broadband. Earlier this month, the PUC posted replies they received on the request.

On July 5, the PUC released their staff analysis of the situation and laid out options for the PUC to be discussion in a hybrid meeting on July 14 at 10am. They will be looking at the impact of losing/reallocating $311 million, of FCC role in not award to LTD and PUC’s authority in the case.

Tangentially, the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society recently released report on the differences between FTTH and Fixed Wireless. And RDOF winner, Resound Networks, reports that they can gets Gig speeds via fixed wireless.

Border to Border Grants

On July 1, $25 million went into MN General Fund for Broadband Grants. Applicants were asked to submit a pre-application by June 23; the Office of Broadband Development has posted MN Border-to-Border Broadband applications FAQs.

State Policy

Federal Policy

Vendor News              

Local Broadband News

Ceylon
Ceylon City gets $1 million from Community Development Block Grant/CARES to deploy FTTH (Martin County)

Duluth
Duluth plans to pursue MN Border to Border funding

Duluth is looking at expanding fiber and reducing costs through competition

Hermantown
Hermantown announces a Broadband Task Force

Howard Lake
Howard Lake gets Hometown Grant award from T-Mobile (Wright County)

Isanti, Chisago, Kanabec and Pine Counties
Update on East Central Energy’s push to get better broadband to Isanti, Chisago, Kanabec, and Pine Counties

Mille Lacs Tribal Area
Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe gets $3.1 million funding (ARPA) to boost entrepreneurship

Murray County
Murray County approves $500,000 ARPA for broadband and plans to apply for MN Border to Border funds

New Ulm
What broadband brings to New Ulm MN – and other rural areas

Nicollet County
Nuvera will seek MN State broadband funding for FTTH in Courtland 

Prior Lake
Senator Tina Smith leads Indian Affairs hearing on infrastructure in Prior Lake MN

St Cloud
St Cloud Times talks up benefits of fiber to meet customer needs and build stronger networks

St Louis County
St Louis County (MN) has ARPA funds available for broadband

Scandia
Scandia MN gets ARPA and RDOF funds for better broadband (Washington County)

Sherburne County
FTTH can be a gig or a provider can offer lower speeds as Sherburne County is learning

South St Paul
FCC Announces Nearly $159 Million In Emergency Connectivity Funding – one award in South St Paul MN

White Township
IRRR approved $166,000 broadband grants in White Township and Ash Lake Area (St Louis County)

Upcoming Events, Opportunities and Resources


Bytes on Broadband: Feeling Patriotic? Maybe thank broadband

On the 4th of July, I went to three rallies, including a vigil with Women Against Military Madness and Veterans for Peace, an event I attend every Monday. This week I got talking to one of the vets, who asked what I did for work. I told him I advocated for better broadband throughout Minnesota. He seemed genuinely impressed.

He said, “That’s so valuable for helping people throughout the state get access to information and civic engagement tools.” We talked about how the internet makes it so easy it is to find civic activities in the TCs. I live 4 miles from the Capitol. I can be there. I can rally and watch what happens. I can sit outside and connect with policy makers. And in our new Zoom-aware world, I’d make the case that if you have broadband, you too can be in the room. You can connect with your reps in several ways. You can find information and colleagues online. And with enough broadband you can exercise your freedom of speech creating blogs, podcasts and videos.
I was humbled at the end of the conversation the veteran said – thank you for your service! I feel undeserving but I know many readers spend a lot of time at work and long hours after work striving to get better broadband to the four corners of Minnesota for the next generation and I’m going to pass on the gratitude to you – thank you for your service!

This entry was posted in 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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