Do we need another push to get more voices on the MN digital equity plan team?

The MN Office of Broadband Development put out a call to get communities involved in preparing a digital equity plan that will lead the state into a place for more equitable technology practices and be submitted to federal funders to help maximize flow of federal funds into the state to support the plan…

If you are interested in helping to shape Minnesota’s digital equity plan, there are three ways you can assist. For now, you can establish a Digital Connection Committee and register it with OBD by March 15, 2023. Many of these committees will be eligible to apply for a mini-grant of up to $4000—those applications are due March 3. Then, beginning April 3, you can use data to tell OBD your community or organization’s digital equity story. You can also join a committee near you and ask how to become involved. Or, once drafted, you can provide feedback on the Digital Equity Plan (approximately late August through late September). Stay up to date on the planning process by visiting OBD’s website.

They recently gave an update on how that push went…

Throughout February and March, OBD received over 90 Digital Connection Committee (DCC) registrations and 70 Assessing Digital Inclusion mini-grant applications. We are thrilled!
DCCs are Minnesota’s strategy for ensuring our state’s digital equity plan truly belongs to Minnesota. Between now and June 30, DCCs can submit data, stories, and other information about local digital inclusion strengths, needs, and goals for inclusion in the plan.
To register a DCC or to see a map (updates coming soon) of committees statewide, visit OBD’s digital inclusion webpage. DCC registrations are accepted on a rolling basis; registrations received by April 7 will be able to participate fully in contributing information for the plan. Please contact Hannah Buckland at with any questions.

They got a great response but are they getting all the voices they need?

Thanks to Jason Brazier at Literacy Minnesota for sending me two maps looking at where the local Digital Connection Committees (DCCs) are located and a map that shows digital equity (or inequity) status in each county. (The darker the color the better off the county is with digital equity.)

Map of Digital Equity (left) | Locations of Digital Connection Committees (right)

As you can see, the areas with the greatest need are in counties that do not have local DCCs, which means those communities are likely to be underrepresented. There are 14 counties (listed below) and only three of them are home to a DCC. A glance at the map and scan through the directory list and it’s clear that areas near cities and larger towns (Twin Cities, Duluth, Rochester) or with local colleges (Crookston, Northfield, Mankato) have DCCs. There are DCCs that are defined by subject specialty and span a statewide geography, such as the MN Alliance Boys and Girls Club but that is different level of representation that having the local Boys and Girls Club in Cass County lead the effort.

We are missing voices!

It’s not too late to reach out to the areas and people who aren’t on the list, which is why I’ve listed the target counties below. If they can get registered in the next week, they can participate fully in contributing to the plan. So I’m reaching out to readers to reach out to colleagues, cousins and counterparts in these areas to see if there is a likely leader for this effort. Keep in mind, these are the least connected counties so picking up a phone might be more effective that Tweeting.

Finally, I’m just looking at geography and as a factor because my work focuses on geography. That’s my lens. If your daily lens is different, use it to look at existing DCCs, see who is missing and reach out to them. For example, I don’t see a group that is obviously focused on agriculture, folks with disabilities or people experiencing homelessness. You may see something else. If they aren’t in the room, the planners won’t know what they need.

  1. Aitkin County – 1 DCC
  2. Cass County
  3. Beltrami County
  4. Clearwater County
  5. Kanabec County
  6. Kittson County
  7. Lake of the Woods County
  8. Mahnomen County
  9. Mille Lacs County
  10. Morrison County
  11. Nobles County
  12. Otter Tail County – 1 DCC
  13. Pine County – 1 DCC
  14. Redwood County


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