About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

2021 MN Broadband Day Two: Welcome from Chris Mitchell at Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Starting the day with some inspiration from Chris Mitchell at Institute for Local Self-Reliance


Chat from the session:

Coffee and Conversation

08:34:57 From  Mary Magnuson (she/her)  to  Everyone: The chat log is part of the conference archive on the blog: https://blandinonbroadband.org/category/blandin-broadband-summit-2021/

08:41:11 From  Mary Magnuson (she/her)  to  Everyone: If you attended the conference yesterday, fill out this two question evaluation (if you haven’t already.) https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DWR9L9R

08:45:40 From  Mary DeVany  to  Everyone: Snow in South Dakota today… 😉

08:49:50 From  Christopher Mitchell  to  Everyone: I think Portugal is the most vaccinated country in the world

08:54:25 From  Ben Winchester  to  Everyone: https://www.amazon.com/Anti-Intellectualism-American-Life-Richard-Hofstadter/dp/0394703170

08:55:10 From  Christopher Mitchell  to  Everyone: Americans who are descended by Europeans were not a random sampling – we are the descended from the outcasts and adventurers willing to take a chance to leave … or who were cast out.

08:56:23 From  Bernadine Joselyn (she/her)  to  Everyone: Christopher: yes, AND/BUT DNA itself gets washed out after 10 generations….

08:57:05 From  Christopher Mitchell  to  Everyone: Sure – we are what – 4 or 5 generations from when most Europeans arrived? Not 10 I’m guessing…

09:14:32 From  Bill Coleman  to  Everyone: Thanks for the kind words Christopher!

09:15:42 From  Ry Marcattilio-McCracken (ILSR)  to  Everyone: https://muninetworks.org/broadbandbits

09:16:12 From  Ry Marcattilio-McCracken (ILSR)  to  Everyone: https://connectthisshow.com/

09:16:22 From  Ann Treacy  to  Everyone: Chris’ podcast is educational and fun – I often find myself listening for long than intended.

09:39:15 From  Mary Magnuson (she/her)  to  Everyone:

Here’s ILSR’s report: https://muninetworks.org/reports/minnesota-broadband-land-of-ten-thousand-connectivity-solutions

09:44:57 From  Mary Magnuson (she/her)  to  Everyone: Ry is right – this report (and two we are talking about a little later in this session) is linked from the agenda https://blandinfoundation.org/programs/broadband/annual-conference-2021/wednesday-october-13/ You’ll also be able to find them in the Blandin on Broadband blog conference archive later today.

09:45:36 From  Bernadine Joselyn (she/her)  to  Everyone: I think that’s the main message: it takes work!


Christopher Mitchell, Director, Community Broadband Networks initiative, Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Christopher Mitchell is a leading national expert on community networks and Internet access. On a day-to-day basis, Mitchell runs MuniNetworks.org, the comprehensive online clearinghouse of information about local government policies to improve Internet access. He hosts the Community Broadband Bits podcast as well as the live Connect This! Show, which airs on YouTube and Facebook. He was honored as one of the 2012 Top 25 in Public Sector Technology by Government Technology, which honors the top “Doers, Drivers, and Dreamers” in the nation each year. Mitchell earned a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the Hubert Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Macalester College. He is also a professional sports photographer, shooting regularly for the University of Minnesota’s Golden Gophers and other clients in Minnesota.

Bernadine Joselyn has served as director of Blandin Foundation’s Public Policy and Engagement program since 2001. Here she leads efforts to facilitate the building of knowledge and catalyze community action around issues and opportunities that align with the Foundation’s mission of strengthening rural Minnesota communities, especially the Grand Rapids area.

Beginning in 2003 she has led the foundation’s broadband programming in rural communities across the state. She represents rural communities on the Governor’s Broadband Task Force.

A native of Minnesota, Bernadine has a master’s degree in international affairs and a certificate in advanced Soviet studies from Columbia University. Bernadine spent the first 15 years of her professional life in Soviet (and then post-Soviet) Affairs. She served seven years as diplomat with the U.S. Department of State, where —  after an initial tour in New Delhi, India — she was assigned to Moscow, Russia, and Washington, D.C., focused on the U.S.-Soviet/Russian relationship. After the collapse of the Soviet Union Bernadine left the diplomatic corps to work on international academic and cultural exchange programs with the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX) and subsequently the Eurasia Foundation, where she oversaw a $5 million annual grant program.

In 2000 Bernadine returned to Minnesota to complete a second master’s degree in public policy at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute.

FTC warns against scams to apply for Emergency Broadband Benefit

A reminder to everyone from c|net

The Federal Trade Commission is warning Americans about scams popping up on social media offering to “help” people sign up for the Emergency Broadband Benefit program, which provides people struggling through the pandemic with a subsidy to pay for monthly broadband access and a one-time only discount for a computer.

The notice, issued on Friday, warns that the ads are government impersonators that look and sound like legitimate government sites, complete with government seals, designed to trick people into handing over personal information or paying a fee.

2021 MN Broadband Day One: Update on the American Rescue Plan Act’s Capital Projects Fund

A timely and practical presentation on federal funding from Diane Wells at the Office of Broadband Development…

Chat from Session:

11:49:25 From  Brenda Johnson SEMLM  to  Everyone:

Melinda, per year, there are more like 100K+ just on that one trail. On the numerous trails throughout SE MN, the numbers would be more in the range you see in NW. Thank you for stressing this so it will be duly noted. It’s often the small communities that are working so hard to address this, and it can be a daunting task.

12:01:23 From  Yvonne Cariveau  to  Everyone:

Diane is a spectacular resource to all of us.

12:01:56 From  Brenda Johnson SEMLM  to  Everyone:

Diane rocks! Thank you, Diane!


Diane Wells has over 34 years of experience working with telecommunications and broadband issues for the State of Minnesota. She joined the Office of Broadband Development at the MN Department of Employment and Economic Development at its inception in 2013. Prior to joining the Office, Ms. Wells managed the telecommunications division at the MN Department of Commerce for eight years and served on the telecommunications staff of the MN Public Utilities Commission for 17 years. Ms. Wells received her undergraduate degree from St. Cloud State University and her M.P.A. from the University of Texas in Austin.

2021 MN Broadband Day One: What? Regional Gatherings Report Out: What are our greatest opportunities for improving broadband access and adoption in rural Minnesota?

What? Regional Gatherings Report Out: What are our greatest opportunities for improving broadband access and adoption in rural Minnesota?
Rural leaders from all corners of Minnesota will offer snapshots of their region’s broadband successes and opportunities, drawing on input heard at eight regional broadband gatherings held across the state in September and October.


Chat from the session:

Regional Gatherings

11:04:28 From  Mary Magnuson (she/her)  to  Everyone:

We’ve listed the speakers on our website here https://blandinfoundation.org/programs/broadband/annual-conference-2021/tuesday-october-12/

11:05:04 From  Joe Buttweiler – CTC  to  Everyone:

re: prevailing wage….Contractors don’t like prevailing wage projects because they need to pay different wages on a different projects and it creates employee cultural challenges for them. The administrative work associated with prevailing wage is incredibly costly for contractors and the providers. If we could remove those barriers somehow……

11:05:47 From  Misty Hendrickson  to  Everyone:

I agree, Joe! It just complicates things unnecessarily.

11:08:56 From  Dawn Hegland  to  Everyone:

If we want to use  state and federal funds  I don’t believe it would ever be possible to NOT use state or federal wage rates. I think the bigger issue is the BIG differences between using state prevailing wages and federal  wage standards from county to county.

11:11:36 From  Ann Treacy  to  Everyone:

East Central MN Regional Broadband Conference: video and notes https://blandinonbroadband.org/2021/10/08/east-central-mn-regional-broadband-conference-video-and-notes/

11:11:59 From  Ann Treacy  to  Everyone:

NW Regional Broadband Gathering Notes https://blandinonbroadband.org/2021/10/04/nw-regional-broadband-gathering-notes/  – just got video will add asap

11:12:14 From  Ann Treacy  to  Everyone:

Enhancing Our Regional Broadband Capacity: 7W MN Regional broadband (Benton, Sherburne, Stearns and Wright counties) https://blandinonbroadband.org/2021/09/27/enhancing-our-regional-broadband-capacity-7w-mn-regional-broadband-benton-sherburne-stearns-and-wright-counties/

11:12:47 From  Ann Treacy  to  Everyone:

Northeast Minnesota Regional Broadband Summit Notes and Video https://blandinonbroadband.org/2021/09/22/northeast-minnesota-regional-broadband-summit-notes-and-video/

11:13:06 From  Ann Treacy  to  Everyone:

South Central & Southeast Regional Broadband Conference Notes & Video https://blandinonbroadband.org/2021/09/16/south-central-southeast-regional-broadband-conference-notes-video/

11:16:53 From  Ann Treacy  to  Everyone:

Link to county profiles that went out on MOnday: https://blandinonbroadband.org/2021mnbroadband/

11:20:12 From  Mary Magnuson (she/her)  to  Everyone:

Lezlie mentioned the group that went through our Community Broadband Resources: Accelerate! program – all in east central https://blandinfoundation.org/programs/broadband/community-broadband-resources-accelerate/

11:22:43 From  Melinda Miller  to  Everyone:

Interesting to express the need for service in a city with 60 people.  Expressing the mobility of people.  How many people pass through on that bike trail in a year?

11:23:27 From  Ann Treacy  to  Everyone:

another, probably easier link to Regional meeting notes (at bottom of page) https://blandinfoundation.org/programs/broadband/annual-conference-2021/#regional-gatherings

11:28:49 From  Brenda Johnson SEMLM  to  Everyone:

Melinda, thousands of people use the bike trail in that area every year. You are correct to bring up that point. It’s important to note.

11:42:35 From  Melinda Miller  to  Everyone:

We heard about the number of people who visit Lake of the Woods every year in NWRDC.  I heard 2.7 million visitors to Lake of the Woods.  That is a lot of people who may need to call 911.

11:49:25 From  Brenda Johnson SEMLM  to  Everyone:

Melinda, per year, there are more like 100K+ just on that one trail. On the numerous trails throughout SE MN, the numbers would be more in the range you see in NW. Thank you for stressing this so it will be duly noted. It’s often the small communities that are working so hard to address this, and it can be a daunting task.

12:01:23 From  Yvonne Cariveau  to  Everyone:

Diane is a spectacular resource to all of us.

12:01:56 From  Brenda Johnson SEMLM  to  Everyone:

Diane rocks! Thank you, Diane!

2021 MN Broadband Day One: Digital Showcase: Closing the Opportunity Gap

A series of fast-moving presentations and demos by people from around the state and beyond who are using technology and the internet in innovative ways to improve lives and increase opportunity for all. Show, tell, and discussion. Moderated by Ann Treacy, Treacy Information Services

  • Fostering Productive Conversations – Kendra Jo Grindle, Island Institute, Rockland, ME
  • Overcoming Broadband Gaps in Rural Minnesota Communities – Edward Hilbrich, Libraries Without Borders, Washington DC
  • Sustainably Sourcing Digital Literacy Skill Services – Joe Miller, Literacy Minnesota, St. Paul, MN
  • Region Nine Tele Mental Health Portal – Kristian Braekkan and Alejandra Bejarano, Region Nine Development Commission, Mankato, MN
  • Smart Cities and Streaming Television – Abraham Levine, Brainware Partners, Minneapolis, MN

(I will add more presentations as I get them.)

Presentation by Libraries without Borders.

Resources from Joe Miller.


Chat from the session:

Digital Showcase

Island Inst:

09:41:05 From  Bernadine Joselyn (she/her)  to  Everyone:

Island Institute in the state of Maine!

09:44:38 From  Sarah Swedburg (she/her)  to  Everyone:

Will slides be available on the conference website?

09:45:37 From  Mary Magnuson (she/her)  to  Everyone:

Yes, to the Blandin on Broadband blog first https://blandinonbroadband.org/ and then I’ll add links to the conference website.

09:46:08 From  Anne Brataas  to  Everyone:

Excellent, thank you!

Literacy MN:

10:03:19 From  Joe Miller  to  Everyone:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1H3itVC8-OGL6ebT5r8xrb6klKq3l6aa-83bVLnZtqc0/edit?usp=sharing

10:04:23 From  Joe Miller  to  Everyone:

Can you please share in the chat: (i) what is a digital literacy skill that you have learned since March 2020, and (ii) what is a computer skill that is important for participation in public/private life?

10:04:33 From  Edward Hilbrich  to  Everyone:

https://www.librarieswithoutborders.us/manufactured-housing-initiative/

10:04:44 From  Yvonne Cariveau  to  Everyone:

How to create videos for others explaining things.

10:04:49 From  Bernadine Joselyn (she/her)  to  Everyone:

I’ve learned how to share a screen on zoom.

10:04:54 From  Michelle Marotzke  to  Everyone:

Ways to use Zoom

10:04:58 From  Eric Day  to  Everyone:

Zoom basics

10:05:07 From  Becky Lourey  to  Everyone:

I rely on my IT people as I struggle to become efficient

10:05:09 From  Ida Rukavina  to  Everyone:

how to run a Zoom meeting- I hadn’t prior

10:05:11 From  Jay Trusty  to  Everyone:

How to use MS Teams to collaborate

10:05:11 From  Chris Stark, UW  to  Everyone:

(1) ZOOM    (2) filling out a job application

10:05:13 From  Dawn Hegland  to  Everyone:

I have learned how to use more and more ways to connect digitally and share and collaboratively work on documents

10:05:22 From  Sarah Swedburg (she/her)  to  Everyone:

Navigating short surveys for community participation

10:05:24 From  Amanda Othoudt, Benton Economic Partnership (7W)  to  Everyone:

How to utilize MS Teams/Zoom

10:05:27 From  Jason Walkowiak  to  Everyone:

How to work like we have never have before

10:05:31 From  Brenda Johnson SEMLM  to  Everyone:

online meeting facilitation

10:05:33 From  Ann Treacy  to  Everyone:

edit vodcast – new skill

10:05:42 From  Ann Treacy  to  Everyone:

zoom – essential wok skills

10:05:48 From  Carter Grupp  to  Everyone:

Teaching my mom how to export pdfs and change file types/formats

10:05:48 From  Brenda Nyberg  to  Everyone:

Electronic Signatures

10:05:48 From  Timothy Furr  to  Everyone:

Online interviews

10:05:49 From  Anne Brataas  to  Everyone:

Research local alternatives to Facebook

10:05:52 From  Jami Trenam – Great River Regional Library  to  Everyone:

  1. how to lead teams/meetings through zoom 2. essential skill for all: using email

10:06:12 From  Brian Frederick  to  Everyone:

Remote support with remote sharing.

10:06:21 From  Ida Rukavina  to  Everyone:

Agree Anne!

10:12:45 From  Becky Lourey  to  Everyone:

I have also learned that remote work for my employees has enhanced their life-work balance.  Also, employees now recommend talented people they know to apply for jobs because they can also work remotely.  I had always wanted us together in the building.  Now, we are using broadband to keep us together.  All this influenced by Covid and requiring great Broadband

10:13:00 From  Joe Miller  to  Everyone:

jmiller@literacymn.org

10:13:50 From  Hannah Buckland  to  Everyone:

Great to hear the shoutouts to State Library Services this morning! When you find yourself thinking, “If only Jen Nelson didn’t flee to New Jersey,” please know that you can always reach out to me with your library-related digital inclusion thoughts, questions, schemes, etc. I’m still here at hannah.buckland@state.mn.us 🙂

10:14:27 From  Scott Cole-Collectivity  to  Everyone:

Thanks Hannah!

10:15:45 From  Ann Treacy  to  Everyone:

Digital showcase bios: https://blandinfoundation.org/articles/digital-showcase-closing-the-opportunity-gap/

10:45:29 From  Misty Hendrickson  to  Everyone:

Our problem in northern mn is not being able to get workers here due to the prevailing wage due to the mines.

Region Nine:

10:46:18 From  Yvonne Cariveau  to  Everyone:

Kristian and Alejandra talked about telemedicine for mental health and about a pilot that hit capacity very soon. Does improved access to broadband expand access to mental health providers? (Which may be the bigger capacity problem)

10:46:47 From  Scott Cole-Collectivity  to  Everyone:

Great question Yvonne…

10:50:09 From  Anne Brataas  to  Everyone:

Related question to alcohol and mental health issues: what are you finding the most effective support/intervention/rehab broadband promotes? As a joyfully sober recovering alcoholic for  33 years, the urgency of this data point in rural MN really speaks to me.

10:53:07 From  Yvonne Cariveau  to  Everyone:

We expand our pool of talent by expanding broadband – especially for rural folks in their 60s that may be nervous about covid exposure and have the option to not work or work from home (if they have broadband).

10:55:19 From  Misty Hendrickson  to  Everyone:

I don’t have a microphone. sorry

10:57:08 From  Misty Hendrickson  to  Everyone:

I meant we can’t get broadband copper to us because the installers won’t work here because all federal funding requires prevailing wage.

10:57:26 From  Becky Lourey  to  Everyone:

Ida, Amy said you have a new employer … where are you working ?

10:59:01 From  Michael Schumacher  to  Everyone:

That would be brilliant!  #WorkExperience

11:01:20 From  Mike Wimmer  to  Everyone:

I do not believe ARP funded projects need to follow Davis-Bacon. If you tap into the State grant program, I do believe Davis Bacon needs to be followed

11:02:32 From  Anne Brataas  to  Everyone:

To follow up on Misty’s and Ida’s points — and NOT bring wages down—is there a way to incent/compel contracts with high prevailing wages to be accepted?

11:04:19 From  Misty Hendrickson  to  Everyone:

Yes, we don’t want to bring wages down, just get installers.


More info on presenters:

Fostering Productive Conversations

Kendra Jo Grindle, Senior Community Development Officer, Island Institute, Rockland, ME
As Senior Community Development Officer, Kendra Jo serves as both the strategic lead and project lead for the Island Institute’s Broadband team as they work to achieve national average connectivity for all island and coastal communities in Maine, as well as the strategic lead for the Sea Level Rise team.

Kendra Jo is no stranger to the Island Institute’s mission. She first came to Maine, by way of her home state of West Virginia, as an Island Fellow on Islesboro in 2013. During her fellowship, she worked to connect island families to readily available resources on the mainland and revive the Social Services Liaison at the Islesboro Town Office. In the years since her fellowship, Kendra Jo worked for the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association as the Community Programs and Operations Manager. She holds a BA in Human Development & Family Studies with a concentration in Rural Families from the University of Connecticut.

Overcoming Broadband Gaps in Rural Minnesota Communities

Edward Hilbrich, Manufactured Housing Project Coordinator, Libraries Without Borders
Edward (he/his) believes that advocating for free, open access to resourceful information is a revolutionary act, which promotes public discourse, political engagement, and autonomous, collective decision-making. Edward has a rich and varied background as a Homeless Rights and Housing Advocate, a Union Organizer, and as an Independent Bookstore Owner. Edward is a NYC transplant working and living in the Twin Cities.

Sustainably Sourcing Digital Literacy Skill Services

Joe Miller is Project Manager – Digital Equity and Strategy at Literacy Minnesota. He is at the forefront of research and development at the nonprofit when digital equity intersects with the literacy cause, which has included management of projects in partnership with the AmeriCorps Emergency Response Initiative and the Minnesota Department of Education.  Prior to his current role, Joe taught English in North Minneapolis with Literacy Minnesota and North Sumatra, Indonesia with the Fulbright Program.  His undergraduate degree is in economics and political science from St. Olaf College, and he has previous professional experience in operations at a nonprofit in the Brainerd Lakes Area, Minnesota Hockey Camps.

Region Nine Tele Mental Health Portal

Region Nine Development Commission was awarded a Broadband grant from Blandin Foundation in 2019 to develop a tele-mental health portal in spring 2020 to serve diverse populations in southcentral Minnesota. Little did we know that the work would coincide with a global pandemic and a dramatic increase in the need for mental health services in an already high demand/low supply market. This presentation will discuss how tele-mental health services can augment existing services in rural areas, lessons learned, needs discovered, and ideas for future considerations.

Kristian Braekkan joined Region Nine in February 2018. His work relates to resource development, economic development, and industrial projects. Kristian completed his Ph.D. at Virginia Tech in 2010. His research on industrial relations spans a wide variety of contexts, such as steel, coal, health care, manufacturing, and service industries. He has presented and published his research domestically and internationally.

Alejandra Bejarano joined Region Nine in August of 2021 as an economic recovery planner. As a previous Region Nine intern and Fellow for the Lead for Minnesota fellowship program, she is enthusiastic about continuing to work with Region Nine in creating vibrant and resilient communities. Alejandra just graduated with an MPA from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Alejandra hails from Colombia and moved to the United States at a young age to play college tennis. Having a deep interest in research, Alejandra did her capstone project on corruption and institutional trust. She has diverse background experience in both the private and public sectors and is passionate about exploring new cultures, as she speaks multiple languages.

Smart Cities and Streaming Television

This session will describe the Community Technology Advisory Commission of St. Louis Park and it’s activities on its origin and activities in smart city applications and how we can aid cities looking at such technologies.  Also, the session will describe launch of City Streaming TV for hyper-local streaming channels for Community organizations, Faith-based organizations, public and entertainment, elected officials and candidates (election season only).  This generally free service does not require cable nor any governmental public access permission.  Ideal for smaller cities, local community chapters, businesses and entertainment, and a way for local officials to better communicate with constituents.

Abraham (Abe) Levine is CEO of Brainware Partners, a high technology consulting firm specializing in executive and technical services for telecommunications, and software, in addition to companies in the trucking industry.  He is also working with a major company in the streaming television industry and Chairman of the St. Louis Park, MN Community Technology Advisory Commission dealing with smart city applications.

A recent long-term engagement was at VisTracks where he, as Chief Operating Officer, developed their product strategy and channel sales for their tracking and later their Electronic Logging Device (ELD) business.  For the ELD, his 80+ reseller channel brought in sales to over 70,000 trucks in 18 months.  Mr. Levine also became well-known on Sirius/XM where he was interviewed several times and sponsored a call-in show about the complex US ELD rules.  In addition, Mr. Levine developed an overseas call center and worldwide ELD product support.

Prior to the VisTracks engagement, Abe was COO of a Wisconsin-based wireless carrier where he led a turnaround from monthly subscriber losses to significant monthly gains and managed over 600,000 IoT devices on his network. He has worked with over 30 telecommunications companies worldwide in various executive capacities in sales and professional services.  He also has worldwide experience in aerospace, automotive, government, and pharma.

Moderator

Ann Treacy, Treacy Information Services, authors and manages the Blandin on Broadband blog. She has worked on broadband issues since 1994 – both supporting deployment of broadband and helping people and businesses better use broadband through digital inclusion training and online marketing consulting. Ann has a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science as well as a Master’s in Literature. You can learn more at www.byteoftheweek.com.

 

2021 MN Broadband Day One: Welcome with Senator Amy Klobuchar

Very excited to have a welcome from Blandin Foundation’s Bernadine Joselyn and a ton setting from Senator Amy Klobuchar welcome us to day one of the conference: Building on Broadband Inspiring Progress:

Chat from the session:

Senator Klobuchar

09:21:56 From  Barbara Droher Kline  to  Everyone:

When will we hear on RDOF?

09:25:05 From  Michael Schumacher  to  Everyone:

Where I reside, “Rural” often applies to businesses and residential customers near the city center!

09:25:10 From  Marc Johnson  to  Everyone:

The FCC released more RDOF info last week. A few Minnesota projects were announced. https://blandinonbroadband.org/2021/10/08/more-rdof-grants-made-16406-locations-in-mn-no-word-on-ltd/

09:27:13 From  Anne Brataas  to  Everyone:

‹Yes, so true about Cook County—from Anne in Grand Marais! Thank you Senator and Joe! A question: is there $ to fund public education on civil, civic  best-practices broadband use? I work with young children, and worry worst-case practices, as outlined by Awesome Whistleblower Frances Haugen, may dominate.

09:27:14 From  Melinda Miller  to  Everyone:

In Emergency COmmuications, we talk urban, suburban, rural and wilderness.

09:28:10 From  Diane Wells, MN Office of Broadband Dev./DEED  to  Everyone:

Minnesota did a state Border to Border grant program that included Whalan so there is fiber there from AcenTek.

Duluth asks public to take broadband survey (St Louis County)

FOX 21 Duluth reports

On Friday the city of Duluth announced they are looking for the public to participate in a broadband internet survey going through November 12th.

“We need and want our residents to inform our vision for community connectivity,” Larson says.

Not just residents, but businesses as well so the city can understand the gaps in services.

“At least 20% of Duluth residents don’t have any internet access. 20%. Of those that do, 15% only have access through their phone plan,” Larson says.

Now, the goal is to get every community member connected in their homes allowing for a master broadband plan. …

The survey will also be available in physical copy form in Duluth libraries.

To take the survey, click here.

Cass County DFL Party outline broadband budget

The Pilot Independent (in Walker MN) start a series from Cass County DFL Party that mention budget and broadband in the state budget…

In Minnesota and across the nation access is critical — access to commerce, education and health care through the Internet and over local roads. In order to truly support and grow greater Minnesota, Internet access is crucial for every Minnesotan as it allows for the opportunity to participate in education work, health care and more.

Right now, 12 percent of Minnesota households do not have consistent internet and 1.5 percent of Minnesotan’s live in areas where under the Federal Communications Commission’s benchmark there is no broadband infrastructure. This budget specifically targets $70 million for expanding access to fast reliable broadband internet.

EVENT TOMORROW: Blandin Broadband Online Conference Oct 12-14: Tips, tricks and not too late to register

The planning team is getting excited. We’re looking forward to good ideas and conversation at the  Building on Broadband: Inspiring Progress conference this week. Here are some high level tips to

  • Sessions start at 9am each day BUT casual chat starts at 8:30am. Please join us!
  • We will adjourn at 12:30 on Tuesday, 1pm on Wednesday and noon on Thursday.
  • The day before a session, you will get a zoom link by email or text (based on your declared preference at registration)
  • It’s not too late to register
  • All sessions will be streamed to our YouTube channel
  • You will find a detailed agenda on the conference webpage.
  • Notes and archive videos will be post on the Blandin on Broadband blog ASAP
  • Social tags for presenters and model messages are collected in a Tool Kit for everyone – keep up during sessions #mnbroadband
  • AND one hot off the press update – Senator Klobuchar will address the conference tomorrow!

Conference small print:

During the Event

When you join conference, you’ll be muted and your video will be off. You can unmute and turn on your video whenever you’d like — but we do ask that you keep yourself muted during presentations. Use the chat box for questions and comments. If your internet isn’t great, Zoom will likely perform better for you if you keep your video off, or use it sparingly.

A word about privacy: Note there is a chance your Zoom-square will show up in our videos. If you don’t want your full name to show up, you will have the ability to rename yourself. Click on the ellipses in the upper right corner of your square, or private chat Mary Magnuson.

Yellow Medicine County Broadband Profile 2021: Red rating: Ranking out 83 of 87

Rank: 83
Code: Red
(See Blandin Foundation interactive map)

Yellow Medicine County: still bottom 10 ranking

Yellow Medicine actually increased broadband by 11 percent, which boosts their ranking to 83; unfortunately that still leaves them in the bottom 10 ranking. But there may be some opportunities for improvement.

Yellow Medicine County is getting more FTTH fall 2021 from Arvig; it will serve 170 locations in the Wood Lake exchange and 162 in Echo exchange.

Also federal funding may be available. Projected allocation of American Recovery Project ARP funds in Yellow Medicine is $1,883,001; broadband is one possible use.

Yellow Medicine may benefit from intervention, such as the Blandin Accelerate program, a process to spur community acquisition and deployment of federal and state broadband funds, to find an alternative solution. They are a code red community.

Broadband Access:

2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 48.81 37.71 38.86 37.72 19.28
25/3 (2022 goal) 64.65 59.83 68.31 46.91 20.42

Computer Access:

County Households with computer …with desktop or laptop …with ONLY  smartphone …with a tablet et al
State of MN 93.6% 80.6% 7.7% 63.8%
Yellow Medicine 87.2 76 5.6 54.9

Past grants:

  • 2016 – MIDCO CANBY TO MARSHALL MIDDLE MILE AND LAST MILE – GRANT AMOUNT: $623,000
  • 2015 – MVTV Wireless Middle Mile – Grant award: $808,080

Checklist:

  • Find more articles on broadband in Yellow Medicine County (http://tinyurl.com/zhsj3ke)
  • 100/20 Mbps ranking: 83 (up 2)
  • Has worked with Blandin
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant
  • Household density: 5.02

Details:

I am doing the annual look at broadband in each county – based on maps from the Office of Broadband Development and news gathered from the last year. I’m looking at progress toward the 2022 (25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up) and 2026 (100 Mbps down and 20 Mbps up) and will code each:

  • Red (yikes)
  • Yellow (warning)
  • Green (good shape)

Wright County Broadband Profile 2021: Yellow rating: Ranking out 31 of 87

Rank: 31
Code: Yellow
(See Blandin Foundation interactive map)

Wright County: stalled at 80 percent coverage

Wright County is home to Monticello, one of the much-discussed municipal broadband networks. Monticello is well served but they county is mixed but working on it. A recent Wright County Broadband Survey revealed that 86 percent want better broadband. They have also been working to get local residents take a speed test to gauge need in the area.

A recent report from the Institute for Local Self Reliance looked at broadband in Monticello and Buffalo in Wright County. Monticello was an early municipal network that overcame many challenges but still provides services while Buffalo has been slowly expanding municipally owned fiber.

There may be opportunities for Wright to invest in better broadband. Projected allocation of American Recovery Project ARP funds in Benton is $7,930,170; broadband is one possible use.

Because Wright County is engaged, they may find a way to use the ARP funding to invest in broadband; that would help get closer to ubiquitous broadband. Wright County is a code yellow community.

Broadband Access:

2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 86.15 82.51 81.02 80.61 29.26
25/3 (2022 goal) 92.71 89.69 91.07 87.89 81.17

Computer Access:

County Households with computer …with desktop or laptop …with ONLY  smartphone …with a tablet et al
State of MN 93.6% 80.6% 7.7% 63.8%
Wright 92.2 83.1 4.5 64.2

Past grant:

  • 2017 – Midco (Midcontinent Communications) – Annandale East – GRANT $537,050
  • Meeker Coop. Light & Power Assoc. (Vibrant Broadband) – Lake Louisa/Lake Marie Project – GRANT $297,940

Checklist:

Details:

  • Districts: CD 6
    Senate: 15, 18, 29, 30
    House: 15B, 18A, 29A, 29B, 30A, 30B
  • Find your reps

I am doing the annual look at broadband in each county – based on maps from the Office of Broadband Development and news gathered from the last year. I’m looking at progress toward the 2022 (25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up) and 2026 (100 Mbps down and 20 Mbps up) and will code each:

  • Red (yikes)
  • Yellow (warning)
  • Green (good shape)

Winona County Broadband Profile 2021: Yellow rating: Ranking out 28 of 87

Rank: 28
Code: Yellow
(See Blandin Foundation interactive map)

Winona County: pretty good access and needs a push for ubiquitous

Winona County has been focused on broadband for years; they were part of the Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities (MIRC) starting in 2010, a Blandin-led and federal (ARRA) funded broadband adoption project.

They have benefited from past grant funded projects and will benefit from a project that received MN Border to Border funding in the last round and have opted to use CARES funding to invest in broadband.

Winona County has allotted $1 million in CARES funding to pay for rural broadband expansion projects. Dakota County has earmarked $800,000 for its broadband expansion projects.

Winona County will benefit from a MN State Grant awarded in 2021:

  • AcenTek – Rural Peterson Exchange FTTH – GRANT $1,492,096 This last mile project will serve 214 unserved households, 18 unserved businesses, 88 unserved farms, and two unserved community anchor institutions as well as 47 underserved households and five underserved businesses in areas of Fillmore and Winona counties.

Projected allocation of American Recovery Project ARP funds in Winona is $9,791,061; broadband is one possible use.

Winona County has the opportunity to invest in broadband with federal funding. That would help them reach ubiquitous broadband. They are a yellow code community.

Broadband Access:

2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 87.59 87.47 86.43 86.31 81.17
25/3 (2022 goal) 91.65 88.09 86.58 86.48 92.13

Computer Access:

County Households with computer …with desktop or laptop …with ONLY  smartphone …with a tablet et al
State of MN 93.6% 80.6% 7.7% 63.8%
Winona 90.3 81 4.4 59.3

Past grants:

  • 2016 – WINONA COUNTY PICKWICK AREA – GRANT: $416,640
  • 2015 – Hiawatha Broadband Communications – Winona County Whitewater Area – Grant Award: $247,000
  • 2015 – Winona County Hiawatha Broadband Communications – Cedar Valley Area – Grant award: $314,450
  • 2019: AcenTek – Rural Houston Exchange FTTH – GRANT $2,895,318

Checklist:

  • Find more articles on broadband in Winona County (http://tinyurl.com/hqsckxg)
  • 100/20 Mbps ranking: 28 (down 4)
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 31.36

Details:

I am doing the annual look at broadband in each county – based on maps from the Office of Broadband Development and news gathered from the last year. I’m looking at progress toward the 2022 (25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up) and 2026 (100 Mbps down and 20 Mbps up) and will code each:

  • Red (yikes)
  • Yellow (warning)
  • Green (good shape)

Wilkin County Broadband Profile 2021: Red rating: Ranking out 47 of 87

Rank: 47
Code:  Red
(See Blandin Foundation interactive map)

Wilkin County: going the wrong way – need to focus

Broadband access in Wilkin County has actually decreased over the years. The access and ranking is decreasing. But at least the local policymakers seem to recognize the need for broadband. And the influx of federal money could present new opportunities.

Projected allocation of American Recovery Project ARP funds in Wilkin is $1,203,809; broadband is one possible use.

Wilkin County has the opportunity to invest in broadband with federal funding. That would help them reach ubiquitous broadband. They are a code red community.

Broadband Access:

2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 77.06 77.06 80.84 82.08 80.84
25/3 (2022 goal) 83.01 83.1 88.01 86.53 80.84

Computer Access:

County Households with computer …with desktop or laptop …with ONLY  smartphone …with a tablet et al
State of MN 93.6% 80.6% 7.7% 63.8%
Wilkin 86 76.1 4.2 57.7

Past grant:

  • 2017 – Advantenon – Rural Grant, Stevens and Wilkin Counties – Grant $316,554

Checklist:

  • Find more articles on broadband in Wilkin County (http://tinyurl.com/zh64v29)
  • 100/20 Mbps ranking: 47
  • Has worked with Blandin: no
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 3.26

Details:

I am doing the annual look at broadband in each county – based on maps from the Office of Broadband Development and news gathered from the last year. I’m looking at progress toward the 2022 (25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up) and 2026 (100 Mbps down and 20 Mbps up) and will code each:

  • Red (yikes)
  • Yellow (warning)
  • Green (good shape)

Watonwan County Broadband Profile 2021: Red rating: Ranking out 64 of 87

Rank: 64
Code:  Red
(See Blandin Foundation interactive map)

Watonwan County: hovering around 70 percent

Watonwan County has been hovering just under 70 percent covered since we began tracking. They have benefited from grants in the past. There isn’t much broadband news coming from the county. They seem unlikely to make the 2026 speed goals without community intervention but there are opportunities.

Projected allocation of American Recovery Project ARP funds in Watonwan is $2,113,406; broadband is one possible use.

Watonwan County has the opportunity to invest in broadband with federal funding. That would help them reach ubiquitous broadband. They are a red code community.

Broadband Access:

2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 69.25 68.5 67.75 68.42 64.58
25/3 (2022 goal) 77.62 79.32 79.21 70.7 65.26

Computer Access:

County Households with computer …with desktop or laptop …with ONLY  smartphone …with a tablet et al
State of MN 93.6% 80.6% 7.7% 63.8%
Watonwan 85 69.8 8 48.3

Past grants:

  • 2017 – New Ulm Telecom, Inc. – Hanska A&D FTTP – GRANT $324,894
  • 2016 – NEW ULM TELECOM, INC. HANSKA – GRANT: $ 200,397
  • 2015 – MVTV Wireless Middle Mile – Grant award: $808,080

Checklist:

  • Find more articles on broadband in Watonwan County (http://tinyurl.com/jpnf6xv)
  • 100/20 Mbps ranking: 64 (down 4)
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: yes
  • Household density: 9.74

Details:

I am doing the annual look at broadband in each county – based on maps from the Office of Broadband Development and news gathered from the last year. I’m looking at progress toward the 2022 (25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up) and 2026 (100 Mbps down and 20 Mbps up) and will code each:

  • Red (yikes)
  • Yellow (warning)
  • Green (good shape)

Washington County Broadband Profile 2021: Green rating: Ranking out 15 of 87

Rank: 15
Code: Green
(See Blandin Foundation interactive map)

Washington County: nearly there with a grant in process

Washington County has some suburban areas and some rural areas. So, some areas attract providers while other areas need incentive. They will likely need incentive to get the last 4 percent of the county covered. But there are some opportunities

Washington County will benefit from a MN State Grant awarded in 2021:

  • Midco (Midcontinent Communications) – Scandia – GRANT $78,824 This last mile project will serve 78 underserved households and one underserved business in remote neighborhoods of Scandia in Washington County.

Projected allocation of American Recovery Project ARP funds in Washington is $50,898,622; broadband is one possible use.

Washington County has the opportunity to invest in broadband with federal funding. That would help them reach ubiquitous broadband. They are a code green community.

Broadband Access:

2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
100/20 (2026 goal) 96.02 95.8 95.8 96.1 94.97
25/3 (2022 goal) 97.88 98.45 98.44 97.21 96.52

Computer Access:

County Households with computer …with desktop or laptop …with ONLY  smartphone …with a tablet et al
State of MN 93.6% 80.6% 7.7% 63.8%
Washington 94.6 87.6 3.2 70.3

Past grants

  • 2019: Midco (Midcontinent Communications) – Scandia Project – GRANT $510,358

Checklist:

  • Find more articles on broadband in Washington County (http://tinyurl.com/z4dwzyy)
  • 100/20 Mbps ranking: 15(down 3)
  • Has worked with Blandin: yes
  • Has received a MN Broadband grant: no
  • Household density: 254.43

Details:

  • Districts: CD 2, 4, 6
    Senate: 38, 39, 43, 53, 54
    House: 38A, 38B, 39A, 39B, 43A, 43B, 53A, 53B, 54A, 54B
  • Find your reps

I am doing the annual look at broadband in each county – based on maps from the Office of Broadband Development and news gathered from the last year. I’m looking at progress toward the 2022 (25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up) and 2026 (100 Mbps down and 20 Mbps up) and will code each:

  • Red (yikes)
  • Yellow (warning)
  • Green (good shape)