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 from MN Broadband Coalition: upcoming meetings and call to action

From the MN Broadband Coalition…

Broadband Funding to be Heard in House and Senate; Contact your Legislator
Saint Paul—We received the news earlier this week that HF 3029—the broadband funding bill for an additional $30 million each year authored by Rep. Rob Ecklund—will be heard in the House Greater Minnesota Jobs and Economic Development Finance Division on Wednesday, February 26. The Senate Agriculture, Rural Development, and Housing Finance Committee will hear SF 3049 on Monday, February 24. This bill is identical to HF 3029 and is being carried by Sen. Rich Draheim. These hearings will give committee members an opportunity to hear from the Minnesota Rural Broadband Coalition and other advocates about why funding for the program is critically important.
Because the Legislature funded only $40 million in last year’s biennial budget, the Coalition is requesting an additional $30 million each year to match the $70 million recommendation of the 2018 Governor’s Broadband Task Force.
Last year, the Office of Broadband Development received $70 million in applications but only had $20 million to disburse. Well-crafted grant applications were turned away because the Office did not have enough funding to fully meet the need. That’s exactly why the Coalition is advocating for the inclusion of HF 3029 and SF 3049 in this year’s supplemental budget bill. We know that there is significant unmet need and thousands of Minnesotans without access to broadband service across the state. We are excited to have the bill heard in the House and Senate in the same week!
February Revenue Forecast
Minnesota Management and Budget will release its February Budget and Economic Forecast on February 27. This report tells us the overall economic health of the state as well as if the state has additional revenue to spend on a supplemental budget. The November Revenue Forecast indicated the state had a healthy $1 billion surplus. A strong February Revenue Forecast would make additional broadband funding more likely.
Governor’s Supplemental Budget
We expect Governor Walz to release his supplemental budget request in the weeks following the February Revenue Forecast. He and his team are making decisions right now about what items will be included should there be a surplus. Last month he endorsed $30 million in one-time funding for the grant program.
Now that HF 3029 and SF 3049 have been introduced and will be given hearings, we’re asking you to reach out to your legislators to urge them to support long-term, full funding for the Border-to-Border Grant Program. Let them know why broadband funding is important to your community. If your community has already received a grant, tell them how it’s changed your community for the better—tell your story!
Find Your Legislators With This Tool
In addition, please reach out to Governor Walz to tell him to include $30 million in long-term funding in his supplemental budget proposal.
Office of Governor Tim Walz & Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan
130 State Capitol
75 Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155
Phone: 651-201-3400
Email: https://mn.gov/governor/contact/
Meeting Reminder: Tuesday, February 25
A full Coalition meeting will be held  this coming Tuesday, February 25, from 3:00 – 4:30 pm at the League of Minnesota Cities offices. A full agenda has been attached to this email and is available at www.mnbroadbandcoalition.com
Day on the Hill – Registration Opens Next Week
Registration for the Minnesota Rural Broadband Coalition 2020 Day on the Hill will be opening soon. We are currently working on the web registration portal and will send along a note when it is ready. This annual tradition will be held on March 12, so please mark your calendars and plan to attend. It is a fantastic opportunity for you to network with other advocates and speak directly to your legislators and state leaders about the importance of broadband.

Neonatal telemedicine in Hastings, Faribault, New Ulm, Buffalo, Cambridge and Minneapolis

I’m written about neonatal care in Cambridge and Mayo Clinic but it looks like it’s spreading as Becker Hospital Review reports…

Minneapolis-based Children’s Minnesota Health System will provide neonatal care delivered via telemedicine technology to six hospitals across Minnesota and Wisconsin, according to a Feb. 20 news release.

The partnering hospitals include Regina Medical Center (Hastings, Minn.), District One Hospital (Faribault, Minn.), New Ulm (Minn.) Medical Center, Buffalo (Minn.) Hospital, Cambridge (Minn.) Medical Center and Western Wisconsin Health (Baldwin, Wis.).

Through the partnerships, physicians can participate in a virtual consultation using audio and video technology with a neonatal clinician from Children’s Minnesota.

“Expert, specialized care should be available to all newborns, regardless of where they’re born,” said Mark Bergeron, MD, director of special care nurseries and neonatal virtual care at Children’s Minnesota. “These partnerships bring us one step closer to that reality…”

Comparison of States’ broadband speed goals and investments

The State Broadband Leaders Network (SBLN) has created an interactive map of broadband plans and initiatives by state. It’s similar to the work recently gather by the Pew’s State Broadband Policy Explorer.  Pew’s work would be helpful if you wanted to take a deep dive into a state’s (or a few states) broadband policy. It’s also well organized if you want to compare specific policies – like you has statewide policy or activity on pole attachments.

SBLN has a clickable map where you can get a high level look at what’s happening in each state. Over the weekend, I took a deeper dive into that info to come up with a quick comparison what states are doing in terms of speed goals and committed funding. Unfortunately, it’s not an apples to apples comparison. Some states have been investing for years. Some state of speed goals where others don’t have goals but at least they have defined broadband. Some states set goals last year, some set them a few years ago. The age of those goals is showing.

The other issue is that the information is often buried in a state website. I did a comparison of state initiatives back in 2016 so I knew that would be an issue. I decided to make this a quicker job so there’s a larger margin of error but there are also resources (State Broadband Leaders Network (SBLN) and State Broadband Policy Explorer) to get more info now. But for a high level look this version is easy to take in.

From a very high level, I think the FCC and Minnesota have set the bar. You’ll see a lot of goals of 25/3 Mbps, which is the FCC standard and Minnesota’s 2022 state goal. You’ll see a bunch of states with question marks; those are states where I didn’t see a lot of state level activity. And there were a few standouts  for speed:

  • Washington 150/150 by 2028
  • Hawaii Gig by 2018
  • Iowa 100/100
  • Vermont 100/100 by 2024

And for funding:

  • California $645 million
  • Illinois $400 million
  • Indiana $100 million
  • New York $500 million

Minnesota has been a leader in the field. The “Minnesota Model” has been touted for over a year now and I saw it mentioned in a few footnotes in other states. But to continue to be a leader, it may be time to freshen up the goals and the commitment.

Here’s the comparison:

State Goals/Investment
Alabama 10/1
Alaska ?
Arizona Fund: $3 M
Arkansas Speed: 25/3

Fund: $25 M

California Speed: 10/1 by 2022

Fund: $645 M

Colorado Speed: 25/3

Fund: $20 M since 2016

Connecticut ?
Delaware ?
Florida ?
Georgia Speed: 25/3
Hawaii Speed: Gig by 2018

Fund: $20 M

Idaho ?
Illinois Speed: 100/20 by 2028

Fund: $400 M

Indiana Speed: 100/10

Fund: $100 M

Iowa Speed: 100/100

Fund: $5 M

Kansas ?
Kentucky ?
Louisiana Speed: 100/100 by 2029
Maine Speed: 25/3

Fund: $13 M

Maryland Fund: $10 M
Massachusetts Speed: 25/3

Fund: $40 M

Michigan Speed: Gig by 2026

Fund: $20 M

Minnesota Speed: 100/20 by 2026

Fund: $40 M

Mississippi ?
Missouri Speed: 25/3

Fund: $5

Montana Fund: match for e-rate
Nebraska Speed: 10/1

Fund: USF for hospitals

Nevada Fund: $2 M for schools
New Hampshire ?
New Jersey ?
New Mexico Speed: 4/1 – but 100 Mpbs for business
New York Speed: 25/3 in remote areas

Fund: $500 M

North Carolina Speed: 25/3

Fund: $10 M

North Dakota ?
Ohio ?
Oklahoma ?
Oregon ?
Pennsylvania Speed: 25/3
Rhode Island Fund: $15 M e-rate match
South Carolina ?
South Dakota Speed: 25/3 by 2022 and to be #1 in the nation
Tennessee Speed: 25/3

Fund: $20 M in 2020

Texas Speed: 25/3
Utah ?
Vermont Speed: 100/100 by 2024

Fund: $20 M

Virginia Speed: 25/3 by 2022

Fund: $19 M

Washington Speed: 150/150 by 2028

Fund: $20 M in 2019

West Virginia Speed: 25/3

Fund: $1.5 M

Wisconsin Speed: 25/3

Fund: $48 M

Wyoming Speed: 25/3 residential Gig/100 Mbps business

Fund: $10 M


MN bills related or relying on broadband

I’m trying to keep a list of bills in the world of broadband. These are bills I hope to keep an eye on, but less likely to attend meetings on them. Please give me a shout if you have an update on any of these bills or seem one I missed. There’s sure to be a few more – but I know some of these are already in meetings so I wanted to get this list out there.

County auditors authorized to transmit ballots electronically to persons with disabilities.
Authors Reps: Freiberg ; Dehn ; Bernardy ; Klevorn ; Long ; Huot
Authors Sens: Rest ; Kent ; Carlson ; Laine

Telemedicine evaluations allowed to be used for erectile dysfunction medication prescribing.
Authors Reps: Schomacker ; Morrison ; Albright ; Moran
Authors Sens: Howe ; Abeler

A bill for an act relating to education; requiring online education upon withdrawal from school
Authors Sens: Howe ; Koran

Website Accessibility Grant Advisory Council established, grants to cities and counties to improve website accessibility funding provided, and money appropriated.
Authors Reps: Elkins



SF3071/ HF3010A bill for an act relating to public safety; requiring a government entity to obtain a search warrant before accessing electronic communication information
Authors Reps: Lesch
Authors Sens: Hall, Limmer, Dibble, and Relph 



SF3072/HF3012A bill for an act relating to public safety; enabling reporting of information related to use of electronic location tracking warrants

Authors Reps: Lesch

Authors Sens: Limmer, Abeler, and Newman


SF3074/ HF3009A bill for an act relating to public safety; regulating the use of unmanned aerial vehicles by law enforcement agencies

Authors Reps: Lesch ; Moller ; Xiong, J. ; Lucero ; Noor ; Scott

Authors Sens: Limmer, Abeler, and Newman


SF3210A bill for an act relating to telecommunications; increasing the civil penalties for unlawful robocalls; amending Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 325E.31.

Referred to the Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection Finance and Policy.

Authors Sens: Senators Draheim, Koran, Eken, Jensen, and Goggin


HF. 3504,A bill for an act relating to education; limiting the use of individual-use screens in preschool and kindergarten; appropriating money; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 124D.
Authors Reps: Morrison, Mann, Richardson and Stephenson

Rep Ecklund to announces re-election highlighting broadband work

Mesabi Daily News reports…

State Rep. Rob Ecklund, DFL-International Falls, announced Tuesday that he is seeking re-election to the Minnesota House of Representatives in November, and will again seek the DFL party endorsement. Ecklund is currently serving his third term representing District 3A in the House, which includes all or part of Cook, Koochiching, Lake and St. Louis counties.

He mentions his work in broadband…

In Greater Minnesota, Ecklund has worked to boost investments in high-speed broadband infrastructure.

“Families, students and businesses all depend on this 21st-century technology, and in 2019, he successfully championed legislation to deliver $40 million in funding toward the Border-to-Border Broadband Grant Program over two years,” according to the press release. “He is also a strong advocate for northern Minnesota’s heritage including outdoor recreation opportunities like game and fish habitat, parks and trails, and economic opportunities through mining, forestry, tourism and emerging industries.

More about the Dakota Broadband Board and strategic plans

Earlier this month I wrote about a meeting I attended in Dakota County where Annette Meeks  from the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota, a group that advocates for free market and limited government gave her views of municipal networks. It was the second part of a two-part series. Good fortune, I heard from the speaker from the first in the series – Carah Koch, Executive Director of Dakota Broadband Board. She was good enough to share her presentation with me.

Carah spoke more broadly about broadband and the role of the Dakota Broadband Board. I thought it might be interesting for folks in Dakota County and folks in other counties that are tackling broadband issues. Dakota County is part rural and part urban. They have been strategic and purposeful in their broadband planning – and they have been great about sharing documents like their Joint Powers Agreement template.

Dakota County has been working on creating a network for government use and in the process has created excess bandwidth that they can make available on an open access model to encourage third party providers to come in to provide service to local residents. Check out the presentation for details like infrastructure maps with notations on the impact on each community.

Average household data consumption up 27 percent from 2018 to 2019

I’m going to borrow from Doug Dawson’s take on OpenVault’s Broadband Industry Report for 4Q 2019; it tracks the way that the US consumes data.

As usual, the OpenVault statistics are a wake-up cry for the industry. The most important finding is that the average monthly data consumed by households grow by 27% from 2018 to 2019, and in the fourth quarter of 2019 the average home used 344 gigabytes of data, up from 275 gigabytes a year earlier. Note that consumption is a combination of download and upload usage – with most consumption being downloaded.

For the first time, the company compared homes with unlimited data plans to those that have plans with data caps. They reported that homes with no data caps used 353 gigabytes per month while homes with data caps used 337 gigabytes per month. That statistic would suggest that homes with data caps try to curb their usage to avoid overage charges.

Interestingly, median usage was significantly different than average usage. Median means the same as midpoint, and the median data usage was 191 gigabytes per month, meaning half of US homes used more than that and half used less. In looking at their numbers, I have to suppose that the median is a lot less than average due to the many homes using slow DSL that can’t consume a lot of broadband.

Yesterday at the MN Broadband Task Force Meeting, they mentioned that a single precision crop image from a drone could be 5 gigabytes. I wondered how long that would take to upload. So I found an upload tool calculator. At 25Mbps it would take 1 day, 8 hours, 49 minutes and 57 seconds to download 344 gigabytes. It would take 8 hours, 12 minutes and 29 seconds with 100Mbps.