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.

The Ojibwe Netflix – great idea but viewers need broadband

MPR reports

The new “Ojibway TV” app is the first ever video streaming service for indigenous Ojibwe speakers. (The app uses an alternative spelling of Ojibwe.) It’s available now on Apple TV and Apple’s app store.

To keep an indigenous language vital, it has to be passed on to young people, Baxter said, and right now, that requires streaming video.

“Young people want to consume that content,” he said. “My 13-year-old son is more likely to recognize someone from Netflix, let’s say ‘Stranger Things,’ than a regular TV star.”

I love this idea. I’m a fan of keeping languages alive. (So much so I used to take Irish language lessons.) A language is so integral to a culture.

The MPR article goes on to talk about the need for more content. I might also mention the need for broadband access to download the videos. A federal report last year details the discrepancy between access in tribal areas and the rest of the US…

Until recently, data on tribal broadband deployment had been scarce. However, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) have begun to collect and compile data on tribal broadband deployment. The most recent data show that, as of December 31, 2014, approximately 41% of Americans living on tribal lands lacked access to broadband at speeds of 25 Mbps download/3 Mbps upload. This compares unfavorably to 10% of all Americans lacking access to broadband at those speeds. Tribal areas that are the most lacking in broadband service are rural Alaskan villages and rural tribal lands in the lower 48 states.

Recap of yesterday’s Net Neutrality repeal

I am going to borrow the summary of yesterday’s FCC decision to end Net Neutrality from the Benton Foundation

In a Declartory Ruling and two Orders, the Federal Communications Commission reversed its 2015 Open Internet rules.

Declaratory Ruling

  • Restores the classification of broadband Internet access service as an “information service” under Title I of the Communications Act.
  • Reinstates the classification of mobile broadband Internet access service as a private mobile service.
  • Finds that the regulatory uncertainty created by utility-style Title II regulation has reduced Internet service provider (ISP) investment in networks, as well as hampered innovation, particularly among small ISPs serving rural consumers.
  • Finds that public policy, in addition to legal analysis, supports the information service classification, because it is more likely to encourage broadband investment and innovation, thereby furthering the goal of closing the digital divide and benefitting the entire Internet ecosystem.
  • Restores broadband consumer protection authority to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), enabling it to apply its extensive expertise to provide uniform online protections against unfair, deceptive, and anticompetitive practices.

Report and Order

  • Requires that ISPs disclose information about their practices to consumers, entrepreneurs, and the Commission, including any blocking, throttling, paid prioritization, or affiliated prioritization.
  • Finds that transparency, combined with market forces as well as antitrust and consumer protection laws, achieve benefits comparable to those of the 2015 “bright line” rules at lower cost.
  • Eliminates the vague and expansive Internet Conduct Standard, under which the FCC could micromanage innovative business models. Order
  • Finds that the public interest is not served by adding to the already-voluminous record in this proceeding additional materials, including confidential materials submitted in other proceedings.

I have seen messages from several broadband providers, noting that they plan to remain fair and transparent with their pricing and traffic management. I have seen messages saying now it the time for communities to take the lead on their access to broadband. Time will tell on both counts.

Blandin Webinar Archive Dec 14: Emerging trends in Minnesota Tele-Health

Thanks to those who joined. It was a great session…

The Online Health Care Experience

Listen and learn what is happening in three of Minnesota’s leading health care networks around the trend towards tele-health.  Care leaders from Essentia, Altru and Allina will discuss the importance of home tele-health care for the delivery of health care to rural communities and residents.  Learn about the importance of tele-health services to the vitality of rural health care providers.  Increase your understanding about the connection between good rural broadband and rural health care. Invite your own local health care providers to join us for this webinar.

More handouts from Allina Health


Net Neutrality – the vote is today. Meetings starts now

I’ve written about it before but today is the big day for the vote at the FCC. The vote to repeal Net Neutrality. The meeting starts at 10:30 ETA and will be live streamed. You can also watch action outside the FCC room via Media Action Grassroots Network.

The Benton Foundation has done a nice job compiling last minute thoughts and actions on the vote.

More details on Sherburne County’s MN broadband grant project

According to Star News

The $110,661 grant, in conjunction with a local match from Sherburne County, will allow high-speed internet to serve 32 more homes and businesses and the Haven Town Hall.

This project supports customers that border Sherburne County Road 3 between county roads 7 and 20. That is just south of St. Cloud Regional Airport and east of Highway 10. The project will connect to an existing Palmer Wireless network that is being built as a result of the 2016 Border to Border St. Cloud Airport project.

Most of the locations in this area are rural homes, farms and businesses with large open spaces

“Easy access to reliable, cost-effective internet service has become a facilitator of economic growth. This partnership will bring improved broadband services to several businesses, homes and farms within our community,” said Dan Weber, assistant county administrator.

The county partnered with Palmer Wireless in the form of a $135,253 interest-free loan to help fund the project. The county has been installing the necessary conduit needed for the fiber in conjunction with highway improvement projects.

Dakota County looks at Rights of Way and Broadband Joint Powers

This afternoon’s post is unapologetically wonky. I attended a Dakota County Commissioner’s meeting where they discussed changes to their Management of Public Rights of Way due to changes in state statute to accommodate small cell equipment placement and an agreement to create the Dakota Broadband Board Joint Powers. You can find minutes of the meeting online.

I thought this might be helpful for other communities that may need to make similar changes and/or are looking at Joint Powers agreements for shared broadband management. (Dakota County is always good about sharing their broadband related notes and templates!)

First notes from the Public Hearing To Receive Comments And To Amend Ordinance 126, Management Of Public Right Of Way are on pages 43-45. And you can see the proposed ordinance changes to the Ordinance on pages 46-75.

I was tempted to paste sections here – but frankly it’s easier to read the PDF with changes in red. It is interesting to see how they balance wanting to give utility access to citizens with community safety and aesthetics.

There are sections that I found of particular interest:

  • 103.49 Special Event Permit (pg 55)
  • 103.52 Small Wireless Facility. (pg 55) – gets into the size of equipment
  • Subd. 3. Small Wireless Facility Conditions. (pg 62)
  • Mapping – it would be nice to have public access to where the facilities were located for planning

Next – the Authorization To Execute Joint Powers Agreement To Create Dakota Broadband Board Joint Powers Organization (pages 327-329 ). At the October 31, 2017 County Board Meeting, the County Board authorized the County Board Chair to execute a joint powers agreement to create the Dakota Broadband Board (DBB) joint powers entity to manage the Dakota County Institutional Network (I-Net). After the County Board adopted that resolution, some cities that have indicated they wish to participate in the DBB raised questions about various terms in the joint powers agreement. After numerous discussions between the DBB consultant, Craig Ebeling, city attorneys and the County Attorney’s Office, the questions and proposed modifications to certain terms in the joint powers agreement have been resolved.

The revised Joint Powers Agreement is found on pages 331-356. Here’s the Table of Contents

  1. Statement of Purpose and Powers to be Exercised ………….1
  2. Manner of Exercising Powers; Creation of Dakota County Broadband Board ……1
  3. Defined Terms …………………………..1
  4. Participant ……………………3
  5. Board……………………………………………….4
  6. Acquisition of Interests in System Components……………….7
  7. Ownership of System Components……………………..7
  8. Expansion of System……………………………………..8
  9. Operating and Maintenance Cost Sharing……………..8
  10. Financing Initial I-Net and Initial C-Net Capital Improvements …….8
  11. Revenue Generation…………………..9
  12. Establishment of a Relocation Pool; Submission of Capital Plans……9
  13. Default; Remedies…………..10
  14. Limitation of Liability; Indemnification …10
  15. Termination of Board; Disposition of Assets……..11
  16. Amendments………………………………11





Tina Smith to replace Al Franken as Senator – both have understanding of important broadband

MinnPost reports

Gov. Mark Dayton has appointed Lt. Gov. Tina Smith as the next U.S. senator to represent Minnesota in Congress.

Smith, a Democrat, will take the place of U.S. Sen. Al Franken, who said last week he plans to resign in the midst of a growing sexual harassment scandal. Under state law, Smith will serve in Washington at least through 2018. There will be a special election in November 2018, when Minnesota voters will have a chance to weigh in on who should take Franken’s place for the remainder of his term, which expires in 2020.

“Tina Smith is a person of the highest integrity and ability,” Dayton said. “There is no one I trust more to assume the responsibilities of this important office.”

And as I mentioned last week (via an article from CNBC) that could be good for broadband…

“Tina has focused on building an economy that works for all Minnesotans — championing issues including rural broadband internet access, expanding access to early learning and supporting statewide job creation,” her bio page reads.

Franken has been a loud voice for broadband-related issues, calling Net Neutrality the First Amendment of our time and just last week pressing the FCC Chair to delay the vote to repeal Net Neutrality. Smith has spent her time learning about broadband from the front-lines – in Bemidji to see Paul Bunyan, to hear from consumers such as Jennie-O in Kandiyohi, meeting with Minnesota State Broadband grant recipients. Last week, when announcing the most recent round of broadband grants she recognized the importance of equitable access to broadband across the state…

“It’s not fair when almost 20 percent of Greater Minnesota households don’t have the same high-speed internet connections as their friends and family in the cities,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “The grants we are announcing today will help level the playing field and expand educational, health and job opportunities for thousands of Minnesotans. We have made important progress, but too many Minnesotans still lack access to the promise of the 21st Century. We must do more to ensure border-to-border high-speed internet access across Minnesota.”