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.

Office of Broadband Development to Host Informational Webinars for 2019 Broadband Grant Application Process

Sharing an invitation from the Office of Broadband Development…

On July 24 and July 25, the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development will host a series of three webinar/WebEx toll-free calls to support the 2019 broadband grant application process and to answer potential applicant questions. We will introduce this year’s changes to the program, walk through the application requirements, review the scoring criteria, and answer questions. Please join us on any one of the following scheduled webinar sessions:

• Wednesday, July 24, at 1 to 3 p.m.
• Thursday, July 25, at 9 to 11 a.m.
• Thursday, July 25, at 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

To register, please send an email with your contact information (your name, organization, address, email and telephone number to david.j.thao@state.mn.us, also copying DEED.broadband@state.mn.us.

Please indicate which session you plan to attend. You must register to receive further instructions on how to access the meeting and the associated materials. The information presented on each call will be the same, so you only need to select one session in order to participate fully.

If you have questions about registration, you may also call David Thao at 651-259-7442. If you have specific questions about the grant program, please contact Cathy Clucas at cathy.clucas@state.mn.us or 651-259-7635.

As always, any general questions can be directed to our DEED e-mailbox at DEED.broadband@state.mn.us, or our Staff at 651-259-7610.

Good luck!

Office of Advocacy announces new funding for Small Business Research – deadline Aug 16

The Small Business Administration (SBA) announces opportunities for business research…

The Office of Advocacy is pleased to announce new funding opportunities for small business research.  The Office of Advocacy periodically funds economic research on small business issues, and is currently seeking research proposals in six areas: bank formation, cybersecurity, population dynamics, entrepreneur demographics, veteran entrepreneurship, and miscellaneous small business topics.  Links to each solicitation are below, and are also accessible by searching FedBizOpps for Small Business Administration listings or the solicitation numbers below.  Proposal submissions are open until Friday, August 16.

Some topics have a clear broadband connection; some seem like opportunities, especially to study the impact of broadband adoption (digital equity) initiatives…

FCC authorizes $524 million for broadband CAF Auction ($3.5 million in MN)

The FCC reports

The FCC today authorized over $524 million in funding over the next decade to expand broadband to 205,520 unserved rural homes and businesses in 23 states, representing the third wave of support from last year’s successful Connect America Fund Phase II auction. Providers will begin receiving funding this month.
In total, the auction last fall allocated $1.488 billion in support to expand broadband to more than 700,000 unserved rural homes and small businesses over the next 10 years. The FCC has already authorized two waves of funding in May and June, and funds from those first two waves are expanding connectivity to nearly 100,000 homes and businesses that lack service. Today’s action brings total authorized funding to nearly $803 million, or over half of the $1.488 billion allocated through the auction, expanding connectivity to 305,518 homes and businesses.

In the coming months, the FCC will be authorizing additional funding as it approves remaining applications of the winning bidders from the auction.

Here are the awardees in Minnesota:

  • Federated Telephone Cooperative receives $1,431,039 (over 10 years)
    to bring minimum speeds of 1 Gbps/500 Mbps to 808 locations
  • Roseau Electric Cooperative receives $2,081,770 (over 10 years)
    to bring minimum speeds of 1 Gbps/500 Mbps to 326 locations

Changes at the MN Office of Broadband Development

People around the US, well people who care about broadband, are talking about the Minnesota Model – speed goals, State support and a grant program that works as well as the Border to Border grants. The Office of Broadband Development (OBD) has been instrumental at making that work.

So we’re a little sad for us, but happy for the director, Danna Mackenzie to see that she is taking a break with an extended leave of absence. She has worked long, hard hours perfecting the Minnesota model.

She’s leaving the work with a solid team of Diane Wells and Cathy Clucas. Both are experts in the field and Diane really been with the OBD longer than it has even existed. (She had worked on telecom for the state for a long time.)

They have recently been joined by Angie Dickison, formerly of the Wisconsin broadband office and formerly formerly a Blandin Broadband Community leader.

Final note from the OBD, a reminder about the upcoming grant deadlines – The first of two grant rounds to distribute those funds has opened and the applications are due September 13th.

CVS Health Rolls Out Telehealth to MN (and other states)

CVSHealth reports

CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) today announced that MinuteClinic, the company’s retail medical clinic, has rolled out its virtual visit offering in eight additional states. People with minor illnesses and injuries, skin conditions and other wellness needs can now seek care through MinuteClinic Video Visits, a telehealth offering, in the states of Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. MinuteClinic Video Visits provide patients with access to care 24 hours a day, seven days a week from their mobile device or computer.

Here’s how it works…

Working collaboratively with Teladoc (NYSE: TDOC), the global leader in virtual care, and leveraging Teladoc’s technology platform, patients can receive care via a MinuteClinic Video Visit, initiated through their computer or mobile device, including through the CVS Pharmacy app. Patients who opt to seek care through a fully customized MinuteClinic Video Visit experience the same high-quality, evidence-based care they receive at traditional MinuteClinic locations inside select CVS Pharmacy and Target stores.

Video visits can be used to provide care for patients ages two years and older who are seeking treatment for a minor illness, minor injury, or a skin condition. Each patient will complete a health questionnaire and be matched to a board-certified health care provider licensed in their state, who will review the completed questionnaire with the patient’s medical history, and proceed with the video-enabled visit.

During a MinuteClinic Video Visit, the provider will assess the patient’s condition and determine the appropriate course of treatment following evidence-based clinical care guidelines. For patients who require a prescription as part of their treatment plan, the provider will submit the prescription to the patient’s preferred pharmacy. If it is determined the patient should be seen in person for follow-up care or testing, the provider will recommend that the patient visit a health care provider in their community, such as their primary care provider or a nearby MinuteClinic location.

A MinuteClinic Video Visit costs $59, which is currently payable by credit, debit, FSA and HSA cards. Insurance coverage will be added to the experience in the coming months.

 

EVENT ALERT: Is your community’s tech sophistication keeping pace with the world?

An invitation from the Blandin Foundation:

You can find out by using the benchmarking tool of the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) which measures six inter-related indicators of a community’s competitiveness in the digital economy. The ICF benchmarking tool is used to measure progress against other communities and over time.

To give you and others in your community the opportunity to learn more about this process, Blandin Foundation is hosting four regional workshops across the state to explain the ICF model and showcase how communities in Minnesota and across the globe are putting it to work.

This workshop is for leaders in business, education and government interested in working strategically and collaboratively to improve the economic vitality and quality of life of their community and region.

In addition, Blandin will offer technical assistance to local teams completing ICF’s benchmarking questionnaire. This tool works for communities of all sizes – from the smallest up to a regional partnership, though data constraints may hamper answers to some questions for smaller communities.

Join us at one of the regional meetings to learn more.

Join us at one of the regional meetings to learn more.

  • Red Wing* Monday, August 12 9:00-10:30 am
    Red Wing Ignite 419 Bush Street Red Wing, MN 55066
  • Brainerd Tuesday, August 13 9:00-10:30 am
    Brainerd Lakes Area Development Corp. 224 West Washington Street Brainerd, MN 56401
  • Bemidji Wednesday, August 14 9:30-11:00 am
    Bemidji Launchpad 102 1st Street West Bemidji, MN 56601
  • Appleton Monday, August 19 1:00-2:30 pm
    Upper MN Valley Regional Dev. Commission Appleton Civic Center 323 West Schlieman Avenue Appleton, Minnesota 56208

Register online.

About ICF Benchmarking Each organization that completes the benchmarking process will be entered in ICF’s Intelligent Community of the Year competition and will receive an ICF benchmarking report that compares your scores in the six elements to the other 400-plus ICF applicants. ICF estimates 8 – 10 hours of work to complete the application, which combines data and storytelling.

The questionnaire is due September 23, 2019.

You can find the questionnaire and more information on the Intelligent Community Forum at www.intelligentcommunity.org.

Blandin Foundation’s Community Broadband Resources Program Blandin Foundation has been using the Intelligent Community framework to help communities develop successful tech-based community projects that build local tech sophistication. A Minnesota delegation to the recent Intelligent Community Global Summit is inviting more Minnesota communities to join them in the Intelligent Community movement.

Blandin Foundation staff and consultants will assist rural Minnesota communities/regions by facilitating a stakeholder team discussion about how to present your best stories and offer draft application review. That assistance is available by completing the brief Community Broadband Resources form.

Rep Lueck urges folks around Aitkin to seek Border to Border broadband grants

Brainerd Dispatch reports…

Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, on Friday encouraged qualified organizations to apply for Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant funding designed to expand internet access in unserved and underserved areas of rural Minnesota.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s Office of Broadband Development will accept grant proposals until 4 p.m. Sept. 13. The Legislature provided $20 million during the 2019 session for this round of grant funding.

It’s good advice.