BBC project check in – what’s happening with broadband in four communities.

Earlier this week the Blandin Broadband Communities met to check in and check up. I took brief notes on the projects. They are innovative but hearnig about them is a sobering reminder that not everyone has broadband. In the cities and indeed in many well-wired rural areas, we forget that. But think of the general store that can finally process credit cards online. Think of the tourists who can finally use credit cards at the shop. Think of the kids on the school bus for 6 hours, who are now able to get something done on the ride.

Mahnomen County

  • Youth asset mapping – educators in Mahnomen worked with students to take pictures of cultural assets and map them.
  • Collaboration between city, tribe and entrepreneurs and a coworking space where folks could visit in person but also access digital training online.


  • Library privacy room for folks who need to have private remote meetings for telehealth or anything else. They have a new tech person on board to help.
  • Community Access Building (CAB) will house community services. It’s an actual space that will have access and again have a private space for remote meetings.
  • Expanding outreach to smaller communities through the libraries.

Pine County

  • Partners with ISP to bring fiber to a local general store for public access for community members. Now they can take credit cards!!! That also provides some middle mile. This was only done because of Blandin support.


  • Wifi on busses has been a big hit. Students are on the bus for 3 hours (one way!) anytime they go anywhere. They are able to do homework, watch lectures and even see the end of tournaments when they leave early.

We even got a few testimonials on the bus wifi…

I have a lot of students, who prior to having wifi on the buses, would tell me how they wish they WIFI for watching lectures. And now my students let me know if they are going to be travelling for an athletic event. Will often remind me, to please make sure that I have for them on Schoology the lecture video for them to watch either to or returning from an activity so that they can do the assignment. 

I would say this is one of the most valuable educational assets that we can provide for our educational athletes and that our students do use this for keeping up with their College in the High School classes.
Thank you; Instructor

For our football players having wifi on the school buses is a gamechanger. Our varsity and jv games are 3 hrs away. Game nights are often on midweek school nights and our players spend 6 hrs on the bus in order to play. The wifi allows our students to keep up in their classes and make that time productive. Virtually everything we do is based around our online learning platforms and wifi is essential. Without it our kids would need to stay up once they get home after midnight after games or literally choose to fall behind. It makes a world of difference for the kids and helps make being a student athlete a little less burdensome.
Football Coach

The JH girls volleyball team used bus wifi to watch the varsity volleyball game when we left early from KCC. It was fun to still be able to watch when we weren’t there in person.
Volleyball Coach



This entry was posted in bbc, Blandin Foundation, MN by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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