The Broadband Task Force gathered today on site and online. They heard from the NTIA Minnesota contact about how to prepare for BEAD funding. They also got updates from the subcommittees on recommendations for the annual report. The mapping committee shared an interesting chart details costs to get broadband to everyone and impact the various potential funding sources could have to contributing to that investment. Although it wasn’t clear whether they were looking at speeds of 25/3 or 100/20. They changed the label of the table but not clear whether the numbers given looked at the slower of faster speeds.
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10:00 a.m. – 10:05 a.m. Welcome, Task Force Introductions, Attendee Introductions and Approval of Minutes from September 29, 2022 meeting
10:05 a.m. – 10:35 a.m. NTIA Grants (BEAD and Digital Equity) and role of Task Force in Plan Preparation
Tom Karst, Federal Program Officer, Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth
- We need to connect 100 percent of MN households
- MN Office of Broadband Development – arguably most success and longest standing
Question: what about all of the work we have done with Task Force, Blandin and others?
It will inform your work now.
Question: who will get the money?
At this point it’s likely to go through Border to Border grants so long as the B2B grants are in compliance.
Question: What doe NTIA want to see?
We want to see digital equity running through all programs. We can’t always measure that.
Question: The Federal funding will go through the state, not apply through feds?
Question: We define our own digital equity measures for success?
Yes. But we sure to include targeted populations.
10:35 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Effects of Broadband Grants on Businesses and Townships
Pete Johnson, Supervisor of Sunrise Township
Sunrise got a Border to Border grant a few years ago (2017?) to work with CenturyLink to get better broadband. Pete owns a business in that area. Now he can reach a larger market. He can connect with suppliers remotely now. What used to take hours, now takes seconds when communicating with partners. We were so frustrated we pursued funding for the grant. We were the anchor for the grant but we were not alone.
We were not on a list to get broadband and realized we needed to make it happen.
They have seen increase in property valuations. It was a key success factor during the pandemic.
**Not part of the discussion but here’s some background on Sun Rise Township
- 2018: About their LGIA award in 2018
- Videos from earlier discussions with Chisago County 2017
- Video from Township meeting where attendees talked about subordinate service district bond (2016)
11:15 a.m. – 11:40 a.m. Affordability and Adoption Sub-Group
- We have 14 different challenges – such as access or community distrust of government programs, language barrier, digital literacy, need for digital navigators, not knowing about adaptive devices, not having a state tech institute, lack of reliable technology and community capacity
- 8 accessibility recommendations
- 3 affordability recommendations
11:40 a.m. – 12:05 p.m. Funding, Mapping and Usage Sub-Group
The chart is particularly helpful but the question is – where do the number come from. The chart started off labeled at access to 25/3 but changed to 100/20 in the meeting BUT I’m not sure it was a clerical error. The costs for deployment come from providers, which makes sense but are they talking about 100/20 or 25/3 and are they looking at overall averages or averages for the houses that are unserved, which often means in hard to serve areas, low population areas or areas where for other reasons forecasts low ROI.
12:05 p.m. – 12:15 p.m. Governor’s Task Force on Broadband Update
Teddy Bekele, Chair, Minnesota Governor’s Task Force on Broadband
12:15 p.m. – 12:20 p.m. Public Comment, Other Business, November 17 Meeting Plans, Wrap-up