About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

Update on Broadband Bills in MN Legislature from

It’s a concise update from JD Supra

This week, the House Greater Minnesota Jobs and Economic Development Finance Division heard HF 7, one of the first bills introduced this session. As introduced, HF 7, authored by Rep. Rob Ecklund (DFL-International Falls), appropriates $35 million in fiscal year 2020 and $35 million in fiscal year 2021 from the general fund to the commissioner of the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to deposit in the Border-to-Border Broadband fund account.

During the meeting, the committee adopted an amendment offered by Rep. Sandy Layman (R-Cohasset) appropriating an additional $15 million to be made available the day after HF 7’s final enactment, totaling a $85 million investment through 2021 to subsidize the development of broadband coverage throughout greater Minnesota. These appropriations will be used to accomplish the state’s statutory broadband goals. By 2022, it is a state goal to provide access to high-speed broadband with download speeds of at least 25 megabits per second and upload speeds of at least three megabits per second to all Minnesota homes and businesses, aiming to place Minnesota in the top five states for broadband access.

Steve Grove, Commissioner of DEED, said HF 7 is a “critical, foundational piece” for the state because it ensures all Minnesotans, not just those in the metro area, have the ability to succeed. All testifiers advocated for the passage of the bill, indicating the indispensability of high-speed internet for businesses in rural areas to flourish and compete with their metropolitan counterparts. One testifier indicated broadband access is especially important for rural residents because a number of them access their doctor via webcam, saving them from driving hundreds of miles to the nearest hospital.

HF 7 was passed on a voice vote and sent to the House Committee on Ways and Means. Its companion bill in the Senate is SF 9, authored by Sen. Mark Koran (R-North Branch).

International Conference on Business Incubation in Mpls April 13-17

Looks like an interesting conference…

InBIA’s International Conference on Business Incubation (ICBI) unites a global community of entrepreneurial ecosystem thought leaders who oversee business incubators, accelerators, and other types of entrepreneurship centers that drive regional economic development. Attendees come to connect with InBIA’s global community, share ideas to further the entrepreneurial movement, gather new tools and strategies for their programs, collaborate with peers from around the world, evaluate service providers and strategic partners, and have fun!

ICBI will feature a showcase of services and products to make the job of supporting entrepreneurs easier. The event provides many opportunities for interaction, including:

Innovative plenary activities

Many times and spaces for creating valuable connections

It will be a good opportunity to show off Minneapolis, meet some folks and learn about building business.

Broadband comes up in two bills in MN House committees March 21

On Thursday March 21 the Jobs and Economic Development Finance Division will hear about the Coworking spaces broadband connection pilot grant program

Thursday, March 21, 2019, 8:00 AM
Jobs and Economic Development Finance Division
Chair: Rep. Tim Mahoney
Location: 200 State Office Building

Agenda:

HF 1693 (Noor) Goodwill Easter Seals funding provided

HF 1505 (Dehn) Summit Academy OIC GED and employment program

HF 1168 (Christensen) 180 Degrees grant

HF 1464 (Lippert) Youthprise Opportunity Reboot initiative grant

HF 2419 (Robbins) Coworking spaces broadband connection pilot grant program.

If you would like to testify, please contact Travis Reese at (651) 296-7175 or travis.reese@house.mn

Learn more about the Bill: HF2419 (Robbins)
Coworking spaces broadband connection pilot grant program funding provided, reports required, and money appropriated.

Then at 9:45 Government Operations will hear about the creation of subordinate service district to provide broadband service authorized.

Thursday, March 21, 2019, 9:45 AM
Government Operations
Chair: Rep. Mike Freiberg
Location: Basement Hearing RoomAgenda:

HF2550 (Mariani)
Security screening systems added to ionizing radiation-producing equipment, jail inmate transfer provisions modified, administrative and disciplinary segregation use guidelines established, criminal gang investigative data retention extended, local correctional officers discipline procedures act established, ombudsman for corrections reestablished, reports requires, money appropriated, and various other provisions modified or established.

HF2229 (Wolgamott)
Town officer terms modified.

HF132 (Masin)
Local governments impacted by new information technology business software involvement required in user acceptance testing.

HF823 (Nelson)
Private consultants hiring process established.

HF1657 (Dettmer)
Scandia; creation of subordinate service district to provide broadband service authorized.

Learn more: HF1657 (Dettmer)
Scandia; creation of subordinate service district to provide broadband service authorized.

MN Broadband Day on the Hill Schedule for April 3

From the MN Broadband Coalition newsletter…

We can now share more details with you about the MN Broadband Coalition’s 2019 Day on the Hill Schedule We have invited Gov. Tim Walz and are hopeful he will be able to kick-off our day. We are excited to announce DEED Commissioner Steve Grove will be joining us in the morning! Here is the schedule we have so far—subject to change.

April 3, 2019 – L’Etoile du Nord Vault, MN State Capitol

  • 8:15am – 8:45am Registration, networking, refreshments
  • 8:45 am Welcome, Legislative Update
  • 9:00am Governor Tim Walz (Invited)
  • 9:15am DEED Commissioner Steve Grove
  • 9:30am-11:00am Legislative Leadership – Invited

We are excited to have scheduled House and Senate leadership to join us!
Schedule will be fluid depending on the day’s legislative schedule

  • House Speaker Melissa Hortman
  • House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt
  • Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka
  • Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk
  • HF 7/SF 9 Authors Rep. Rob Ecklund and Sen. Mark Koran
  • 11:00am-11:30am Optional: Advocacy Tips and Q&A with the Office of Broadband
  • 11:00am Legislative Meetings in MN Senate Bldg and State Office Bldg
  • 12:00-1:00pm Box lunches available in L’Etoile du Nord Vault

2:00pm Coffee and refreshments Wrap-Up in L’Etoile du Nord Vault

Survey shows that digital technology can help rural businesses

The U.S. Chamber Technology Engagement Center (commissioned by Amazon) recently did a survey of 5,300 small business owners in rural America about the economic impact of online tools and technology on their businesses. Below are the highlights of the report…

Digital technology boosts sales and reduces costs for rural small businesses: Online tools and technology help rural small businesses expand their customer base in their own community, neighboring states, and, in some cases, outside of the country as well. Online tools boost sales for nearly 55% of rural small businesses across America. In addition, online tools reduce purchasing costs of products and materials for nearly 29% of rural small businesses.

Small businesses in rural areas are slowly adopting digital tools and technology: Nearly 20% of rural small businesses in America generate the vast majority of their revenue (at least 80%) by selling their products and services online. A slightly larger share of rural small businesses, 22%, purchased at least 80% of their goods and services online.

Rural small businesses utilize digital tools and technology for sales, marketing, and operations: About one-third of rural small businesses sell their products and services through their own websites and nearly 13% sell their products and services through third-party websites. Over 58% of rural small businesses have social media accounts and nearly 36% use online advertising services. Rural small businesses also use online tools for operational tasks such as business banking, accounting, virtual meetings and conference calls, and cloud computing.
Greater use of digital tools and technology could unlock potential in rural small businesses across the country.

Digital technology created opportunities for rural small businesses in the past three years: Digital tools and technology boosted gross sales of rural small businesses by 17.2% during the past three years, the equivalent of $69.8 billion per year. The additional gross sales contributed $38.7 billion to U.S. GDP per year and created 296,288 jobs (full-time equivalent) with $12.1 billion in wages per year. The magnitude of the economic benefits is equivalent to the size of the economy of Vermont or Wyoming.

The economic benefits of digital technologies have not been fully realized in rural areas: If rural small businesses had better adopted online tools and technology, their gross sales would have increased by an additional 18.3% in the past three years, the equivalent of $74.4 billion per year. Consequently, rural small businesses would have added another $41.3 billion to U.S. GDP per year and created an additional 316,605 jobs with $13.0 billion wages per year. These unrealized economic benefits are equivalent to 0.2% of GDP and over 5% of the number of unemployed people in the U.S. labor force.

With greater adoption of digital tools and technology, the potential economic benefits in rural areas are far reaching: If rural small businesses better adopt online tools and technology, their gross sales could increase by an additional 20.8% during the next three years, the equivalent of $84.5 billion per year. This increase in sales could contribute an additional $46.9 billion value added to U.S. GDP per year and create 360,054 jobs with $14.8 billion wages per year. By unlocking the digital potential of rural small businesses, the U.S. GDP would gain an additional 0.2% per year and reduce the number of unemployed people by nearly 6%.

Klobuchar introduces improving broadband act

The Brainerd Dispatch reports…

U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Joe Manchin D-W.Va., and John Hoeven, R-N.D., introduced bipartisan legislation to improve the Federal Communications Commission’s broadband coverage maps.

The Improving Broadband Mapping Accuracy Act directs the FCC to initiate rulemaking to consider using consumer-reported data and state and local data from government entities to improve broadband mapping accuracy, while also considering ways that both fixed and mobile coverage data can be challenged if telecommunications are not upholding their services as advertised. The bill would seek to help close the digital divide by giving policymakers more accurate data on broadband coverage nationwide.

“In order to deploy broadband nationwide, we need reliable data on where service exists and where it does not,” Klobuchar stated in a news release. “Our bipartisan legislation will help ensure we are closing the digital divide with accurate mapping and bringing high-speed internet to every family, regardless of their ZIP code.”

Rep Layman advocates for broadband

The Grand Rapids Herald Review posts a letter from Representative Sandy Layman about her work in the Legislature including her focus on improving broadband access for all…

One of the most significant issues this committee addresses is the need for broadband expansion in greater Minnesota. Last week, we heard legislation I’m championing to provide increased funding for our state’s border-to-border broadband program, which funds broadband expansion to unserved or underserved parts of the state.

This bipartisan bill would provide $70 million over the next two years for critical broadband infrastructure in rural Minnesota. I successfully amended this bill last week to ensure it would also provide more immediate funding by allocating $15 million for broadband improvements in 2019. This $15 million is now a part of this bill, which the House majority and governor indicate is a priority.

Although I hoped legislators could agree on a much larger number, the broadband legislation I authored last year that passed and was sent to the governor would have provided this $15 million for 2019. Unfortunately, it was vetoed by then Governor Dayton – and this funding was lost. By pursuing this extra $15 million again this year, I’m looking to restore that lost funding.

Broadband’s importance to our area cannot be overstated. Access to quality broadband is a critical infrastructure need for rural communities across the state. Put simply, broadband allows us to be connected to the world. Its expansion will help small businesses grow, allow folks to work from home, and expand educational opportunities in rural schools. The countless constituents I’ve heard from and the energized groups visiting the Capitol clearly demonstrate the strong grassroots support for this issue.

Making broadband more accessible and affordable to communities like ours isn’t a Republican or Democrat issue. It’s a rural issue, and I look forward to working with my colleagues and the governor on it in the months ahead.