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.

EVENT TODAY: How did the pandemic change digital inclusion work – on the ground and in policy?

NDIA reports

NDIA will host the “Net Inclusion 2020 Webinar Series” to replace the conference.

This Series will include eight one hour webinars, every Wednesday at 2 PM ET starting September 16th through November 4th. All webinars will include an optional 30 minutes wrap up for an information conversation with panelists and fellow participants. These webinars will be interactive panel discussions with expert practitioners from the field and partners with resources to share.

Today’s session is:

How did the pandemic change digital inclusion work – on the ground and in policy?

With Angela Siefer, Yosef Getachew and Adrianne Furniss. Register online.

Get your all-access pass to the Tekne pre-show – for free!

As careful readers will know, the Blandin Foundation just finished up a monthlong virtual conference. Was it as much fun as going up north and seeing people for three days? Maybe not. But it was even better than I expected and I was pretty bullish at the start. I feel like I learned some things, met some people, made some connections. So I have some high hopes about other events, such as the Teknes

Each year the Tekne Awards shine a spotlight on Minnesota’s science and technology industry. The Tekne Awards honor technology areas ranging from advanced manufacturing and information technology to healthcare and agricultural technology. Join MnTech, students and educators, and your fellow science and technology professionals at this year’s virtual event to celebrate Minnesota innovation and recognize Tekne Award finalists and recipients – the best and brightest of Minnesota’s diverse science and tech-based economy.

Our event is VIRTUAL this year!

The preshow begins at 3:45 PM on Wednesday, November 18, and the ceremony begins at 4:00 PM. Watch the premier video below and don’t forget to mark your calendars!

The Tekne Awards are presented by the Minnesota Technology Association.

eNews: MN Monthly Recap: Links to Broadband 2020 conference and more

Broadband 2020: Connected We Stand
Thank you to the presenters, attendees, conversation starters who joined us for any or all of Broadband 2020, annual broadband conference (inaugural online format). Here are links to individual sessions, in reverse chronological order:

Oct 29

Oct 28

Oct 27

Oct 19-23

Oct 12-16

Oct 8

Oct 7

Oct 6

State Policy Issues (in reverse chronological order)

Federal Policy Issues (in reverse chronological order)

Impact of COVID-19

Local Broadband News 

Anoka County
Libraries Without Borders brings broadband and other tools to Manufactured homes in Minnesota

Dakota County
Dakota County (MN) Commissioner Slavik to serve on national broadband task force

Amazon to open fulfillment center in Lakeville (Dakota County)

Fall Lake Township
Fall Lake Township is getting broadband from Zito Media (Lake County)

Greenwood Township
CTC proposes better broadband in Greenwood Township for $6.3 million

Itasca County
Itasca County Approves CARES Act Funding for Broadband

Morrison County
CTC gets $3 million from ReConnect

Rochester, Bemidji and Southern MN
AT&T 5G Launches in Rochester, Bemidji and Southwestern Minnesota

St Louis County
New FirstNet Cell Site in Northern Minnesota to be Among the First Primarily Powered by Solar in Midwest Region (St Louis County)

IRRR Board supports broadband deployment projects in St Louis County

Tribal areas

Broadband access percentages on MN Tribal reservations

Upcoming Events and Opportunities

Stirring the Pot – by Bill Coleman

It was a different experience to participate in the annual broadband conference last month.  It was great to see friends on the Zoom, but I missed all the trappings of a traditional conference – nice Minnesota location, great food, and of course, the hundreds of informal interactions with Minnesota’s broadband champions.  One advantage of virtual was the presence of more national level speakers than ever before, both for keynotes and Broadband 101 sessions.  If you missed them, make time to watch the archived versions on the conference web site.

So many presentations noted the importance of partnerships but didn’t talk much about how to find one.  I think that the simplest and most effective tactic is to let partners find you.  This is not a passive, hoping strategy.  Instead, pretend that you don’t need a partner and start making progress towards the goal.  In other words, start doing things that drive you towards a successful broadband network.

Announce your intention to solve your broadband problem.  Form a serious team.  Create and adopt a vision.  Start gathering market data about competition and the demand for broadband.  Do a feasibility study. Create a business plan.  Seek funding.  I believe that as you move down this development path, prospective partners will emerge.  In addition, your community will be able to better prepared to select the best possible partners.

Momentum is the key to attracting attention and prospective partners.  While you don’t need external partners for this; you do need a good set of community partners.  And you attract them the same way.  Start down the path with whoever you can recruit and keep going.  There is an old, but fun and informative TED talk on this.  It will bring a smile to your face and encourage you forward.

Broadband is issue for rural and urban – but it’s affordability vs access

Public News Service reports on urban/rural divide in Minnesota. Broadband comes up…

When it comes to additional challenges, Wolter noted broadband internet access still is a key problem in rural areas, especially due to infrastructure gaps. But she said affordably is a problem that’s occurring all over.
“Low-income households, or even just lower-income households, are much less likely to have internet access,” Wolter stated.
According to the report, in households with income of $20,000 or less, nearly half in all Greater Minnesota regions and 40% in the Twin Cities have no internet subscription at home. Wolter added that’s a major obstacle at a time when many students are doing distance learning because of the pandemic.

Rep Hamilton (MN House 22B) would invest in broadband

In a candidate highlight, the Redwood Falls Gazette notes that Ron Hamilton (Minnesota House 22B) plans to invest in broadband…

How as a state representative would you work to promote economic development?

When we invest in roads and bridges, broadband, and clean water, we can see the results. Just look to the expanded Highway 60 and the implementation of the Lewis and Clark Rural Water System for signs of new economic development resulting from those projects. For economic development to improve, businesses must have access to necessary infrastructure. But it’s also important to remember that state government needs to get out of the way and not regulate them out of business.

Libraries Without Borders brings broadband and other tools to Manufactured homes in Minnesota

Libraries without Borders has been offering some interesting information/communication tools in Minnesota, as outlined in their blog. (This story may sound familiar to folks who attended the https://blandinonbroadband.org/2020/10/06/broadband-2020-oct-6-day-one-digital-showcase/Digital Showcase portion of Broadband 2020.)

Libraries Without Borders is committed to expanding access to information, particularly to communities that need it most. To advance our mission, we constantly re-imagine how our work can take shape in order to reach remote, isolated, disconnected, and disinvested communities. LWB first brought this vision to Minnesota through our Wash and Learn Initiative (WALI), where we seek to bridge the digital divide and provide access to educational resources, one laundromat at a time. However, in many suburban and rural parts of the United States, laundromats are not common nor are they readily accessible. Given this reality, LWB jumped at the opportunity to partner with manufactured housing communities, redesigning the Wash and Learn model for MHCs and effectively bringing information, internet access, and educational opportunities to under-resourced residents in rural and suburban areas.


After conducting a preliminary assessment, LWB hosted a town hall-style meeting at Park Plaza, which gave residents the opportunity to express their vision for a community learning and literacy hub. Through participant feedback at the town hall, LWB discovered that only half of Park Plaza residents had access to a basic internet connection. While residents are aware of the wide array of resources that libraries have to offer, over 30% of people within the community reported having difficulty accessing a library facility. This is a gap that we hope to fill by increasing resident’s accessibility to a library, in effect, by bringing one directly to them.

Request for Broadband Consulting Proposals from Dakota County

For broadband consultants out there, here’s a potential opportunity. For other communities, here’s a model in case you need to look for a similar service. Thanks for Dakota County for sharing the Request for Broadband Consulting Proposals from Dakota County..

The Dakota Broadband Board is seeking responses/quotes from vendors to update the existing Systems Plan for its broadband fiber network, and to conduct a business analysis of the current broadband environment in Dakota County. Dakota County (MN) is a part of the seven county Twin Cities Metropolitan Area, and its communities range from urban and suburban in the northern portion of the county to its rural towns and townships in the southern half. The outcome of the project is expected to inform future operational and policy decisions of the Dakota Broadband Board regarding the use of its broadband fiber network.

2020 State of Broadband in US Q3 2020: access and affordability

Broadband Now just released their State of Broadband in America Q3 2020. Here are two of their key findings…


  • We continue to advocate for a new definition for broadband internet from 25 Mbps download / 3 Mbps upload to 100 Mbps download / 25 Mbps upload to reflect the shifting needs of an increasingly digital economy.
  • The top five states with the highest percentage of access to 100 Mbps download / 25 Mbps upload in order starting from the highest rate are Washington DC, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, and New York.

Just think week I spoke to the Broadband 2020 attendees about access to broadband (at speeds of 100/20) by county in Minnesota. Here are their MN stats:

  • MN Access to 25/3: 92.4
  • MN Access to 100/25 68.1

Most of the Minnesota stats and mapping look at access to 100/20 because that is the state speed goal for 2026. That may frame the way people ask/answer the question of speed. Understanding that difference it still might be interesting for folks to compare their county access to other US states using the graph below. You’ll note they look at percent of access and percent they consider affordable, which they define at $60/month or less.

Telehealth providers seeing increase in remote monitoring from ears to heart!

KSTP reports

Telehealth has taken off during the pandemic, with more patients choosing to see their physician remotely rather than visit the doctor’s office. It’s created a silver lining for companies that manufacture medical devices.

The article goes on to talk about hearing aids and defibrillators – all sorts of remote telehealth. It sounds like the technology has been ready for a while, but the pandemic has helped encourage patients…

“What we’ve seen is a dramatic increase, roughly three or four times the adoption rate of our telehealth platform during this pandemic,” said Dr. Dave Fabry, the chief innovation officer at Starkey Hearing Technologies. “I think it’s essential, especially during these times.”

He said they’ve had remote tuning technology for about 25 years but adoption rates were low until the pandemic.

“We saw the increase begin in March,” said Dr. Fabry. “When we look at the statistic, they were going along a steady rate, at relatively small proportions like many other disciplines and then it just spiked.”

Broadband 2020: Reflections and ready links to each session

I’m not sure what we had in mind when we first talked about moving the annual broadband conference online. It was April or March. We had no idea what would happen in the world between now and then – pandemic, civil unrest, snow in mid-October. But we knew as broadband proponents, we were in a unique position to practice what we preach – to level the playing field with technology. I hope, and I think, we did it.

Thanks to Bernadine Joselyn for her annual astute recap of the event at hand:

Here are links to each session, in reverse chronological order:

Oct 29

Oct 28

Oct 27

Oct 19-23

Oct 12-16

Oct 8

Oct 6

Broadband 2020; 2020 MN County Broadband Reports: Measured Progress, Accelerated Need, by Ann Treacy

What can I say about my own presentation? You can access the County Profiles on the blog and/or on the Blandin Foundation site. Please email me if you have any questions. atreacy@treacyinfo.com

2020 MN County Broadband Reports: Measured Progress, Accelerated Need

Ann will present on the annual county broadband reports, which includes focus group discussions with some counties on whether broadband was a help or hindrance in dealing with COVID.

Ann Treacy 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.

Broadband 2020: How I Think About the Importance of Communities in the 21st Century by Thomas L. Friedman

Thank you to everyone who joined today. It was an honor to hear from Mr. Tom Friedman with an introduction by Senator Al Franken and moderated questions Mark Ritchie. I won’t try to summarize but just offer a few phrases Tom used that caught my attention:

  • We need just in time education, not just in case
  • Changes are faster and noisier than they were. More complex. It’s leading to Quantum Politics – we need to be in multiple states at one time!
  • Trust is the only essential ingredient in the room when trying to bring about change.

Thomas L. Friedman is an internationally renowned author, reporter, and, columnist. He is the recipient of three Pulitzer Prizes – two for international reporting from the Middle East and a third for his columns written about 9/11. He is the author of seven New York Times bestsellers — From Beirut to JerusalemThe Lexus and the Olive Tree, Longitudes and Attitudes, The World Is Flat, Hot Flat and Crowded, That Used To Be Us (with Michael Mandelbaum) and, most recently, Thank You For Being Late. Friedman was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on July 20, 1953, and grew up in the middle-class Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park.

It was a visit to Israel with his parents during Christmas vacation in 1968–69 that stirred his interest in the Middle East, and it was his high school journalism teacher, Hattie Steinberg, who inspired in him a love of reporting and newspapers.  Fun fact: St. Louis Park was immortalized in the 2009 Coen brothers movie, A Serious Man. Friedman, Ethan and Joel Coen, Senator Al Franken, political scientist Norman J. Ornstein, former NFL football coach Marc Trestman, Harvard University philosopher Michael J. Sandel and author Peggy Orenstein all grew up around St. Louis Park in the 1960s and early 70s — and most of them went to St. Louis Park High School and the local Hebrew school. The Coen brothers once compared St. Louis Park to the small region in Hungary that had produced numerous nuclear physicists and Draculas.

Friedman earned his B.A. from Brandeis in 1975 and was awarded a Marshall Scholarship by the British government and earned an M.Phil in Modern Middle East Studies from St. Antony’s College, Oxford. He started his journalism career with UPI on London’s legendary Fleet Street in 1978. After serving as a Beirut reporter for UPI for two years he was hired by the New York Times in 1981, where he served as the Beirut bureau chief, Jerusalem bureau chief, chief diplomatic correspondent, international economics correspondent and, since 1995, its foreign affairs columnist.

Friedman is the son of Harold and Margaret Friedman. He has two older sisters, Shelley and Jane. His wife, Ann, is the founder of the word-language-literacy museum — Planet Word — in Washington DC. Friedman is the museum’s Vice Chairman. He and is wife have two daughters, Orly and Natalie.

Friedman’s remark will be followed by discussion and Q&A moderated by Mark Ritchie, President of Global Minnesota, the World Affairs Council based in Minneapolis.

Mark was Minnesota’s elected Secretary of State from 2007 until retirement in 2015. In this role, Mark was the champion for making Minnesota the #1 place for employment growth by encouraging small and medium-sized companies, public benefit corporations, and non-profits. Minnesota’s high ranking for business climate is one of the many outcomes of supporting startups and entrepreneurs here in Minnesota. Mark is a co-founders of the Singularity University chapter in the Twin Cities and serves as Minnesota’s Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the United States Army.

Since 2014 Mark has led the public-private partnership working to bring the 2027 World’s Fair to Minnesota with a focus on health and wellness. This World Expo will be organized to help achieve the United Nation’s Global Goals for Sustainable Development in Health, under the theme “Healthy People, Healthy Planet.”

Broadband 2020: Closing Reception

Thanks to everyone who attended the closing reception. We had folks from Florida, Iowa and the four corners of Minnesota. It was a great chance to catch up with people and hear what they thought about the conference. Some were wise to the world of Zoom and for a few this was the first whole hog jump into a month-long Zoom event.

There were a few shout-outs given to attendees, including David Asp, Perry Mulcrone and Jim Yount. There was appreciation for the time to meet people and talk, to hear national speakers and vendors and for the seamless technology and immediate archive.

We have one day left. We are all looking forward to …

How I Think About the Importance of Communities in the 21st Century by Thomas L. Friedman, Author, Reporter, Columnist, New York Times
Introduction by Former Senator Al Franken. Moderated by Mark Ritchie, President, Global Minnesota

Broadband percentages on MN Tribal reservations

I was going to dive into to Tribal broadband profiles this week but I found out that there may be updates coming very soon. So I just wanted to share a quick look at where folks are connected and where they are not.

I have removed anything related to access off reservation and I’m only looking at access to 100/20 Mbps (100 down and 20 up).

Clearly, each area has its own story. Bois Forte (with 294 households) has no access; while Shakopee (with 116 households) has ubiquitous access. And the numbers are such, especially considering households, that there’s not much comparison to make. But I wanted to keep note, especially as I talk about the MN County Broadband Profiles at the Broadband 2020 conference tomorrow and for when I take the deeper dive once the latest numbers and maps are available.

Name Households (2010 estimate) Percent Broadband (100Mbps/20Mbps) Percent Wireline Broadband (100Mbps/20Mbps)
Bois Forte Reservation 294 0.00 0.00
Fond du Lac Reservation 1530 62.52 62.52
Grand Portage Reservation 257 80.64 80.64
Leech Lake Reservation 3930 77.33 77.33
Lower Sioux Indian Community 134 89.98 68.43
Mille Lacs Reservation 1835 66.38 66.38
Minnesota Chippewa Trust Land 1 100.00 100.00
Prairie Island Indian Community 62 50.15 50.15
Red Lake Reservation 1757 99.82 99.82
Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community 116 100.00 100.00
Upper Sioux Community 48 97.92 0.00
White Earth Reservation 3529 78.17 78.17

Broadband 2020: Digital Ready Communities Report Back

It was great to hear from the three communities (Rock, Koochiching & Le Sueur Counties) that participated in the rare opportunity offered by Purdue University Center for Regional Development’s Digital Ready Community program. Each community has been working on creating a Digital Access Agreements to move forward with a community-wide digital plan.

Throughout the month of October, three Minnesota communities (Koochiching Technology Initiative, Le Sueur County, and Rock County) have been participating in a condensed version of Purdue University Center for Regional Development’s Digital Ready Community program. Hear about what they’ve learned so far!