Broadband Communities reports on Nelson Communications, a vendor that has worked with BBCs (Blandin Broadband Communities) in the past…
Telecommunications provider Nelson Communications Cooperative announced that they have been awarded the NTCA Smart Rural Community Collaboration Challenge Grant to connect remote seniors, using remote monitoring and socialization technology GrandCare Systems.
This grant is part of NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association’s (NTCA) initiative to highlight and support efforts that make rural communities vibrant places to live and do business. The grant promotes broadband-enabled solutions for communities and supports collaborative efforts in economic development, education, energy, health care, and public safety.
Providing Broadband Enabled Elder Care Services
Nelson Communications Cooperative, located in Durand, Wisconsin, plans to use GrandCare technology to provide broadband-enabled elder care services to seniors in rural Wisconsin. GrandCare is a large touchscreen system designed to help seniors easily stay connected with their families. It also provides telehealth, activity monitoring, and many socialization features.
“Nelson Communications is proud of our longstanding commitment to our customers and the communities we serve,” said Christy Berger, general manager of Nelson Communications Cooperative (DBA Ntec). “We also recognize that our broadband is a powerful tool for positive change and improving quality of life. In partnership with GrandCare and WSTA, we hope to demonstrate the role broadband can play to connect lonely and socially isolated senior citizens.”
Nelson Communications will leverage their connectivity and GrandCare’s communication, remote health, and activity monitoring to help engage, connect and empower seniors living in rural and remote communities.
Last week the Blandin Broadband Team met up with the newest BBC cohort – Swift County, Cannon Falls and Rock County. I don’t always share notes from these meetings – but the crowd was just the right size for capturing parts of the day and sharing a little bit about what it’s like to be part of the BBC.
Communities apply to the BBC program. Once in, they commit to work on broadband adoption for 18 months. Broadband coach (and economic developer) Bill Coleman walks them through visioning sessions, choosing priorities, building partnerships. They create a plan for the future and then are invited to submit proposals to the Blandin Foundation. As a BBC community, they will generally get $75,000 for these projects. What I think it awesome is that they get a ton done with many relatively small grants.
Last week we got started. Each member of the cohort talked about what success would look like to them…
Then they got a presentation from Bill (and me – on digital inclusion) …
The also heard from Bernadine Joselyn on the high level hopes and Mary Magnuson on the nitty gritty of expectations. We were also joined by Sam Drong of PCs for People. Each community gets 50 refurbished computers to distribute to the community. Some heartwarming stories come from those computer distribution parties!
Here’s a little clip of some of the group work Each community worked to consider their strengths and weakness in terms of the Intelligent Community Framework.
So now they are off. Next step – a series of meetings with Bill and the planning begins.
Recently we heard from Ely about their participation in the IRBC program. Incredible Ely mentioned their business broadband survey. Incredible Ely works with local entrepreneurs – and as they work they will be tracking progress with future survey. Pam was kind enough to share the results – with a generous offer to talk with anyone about their program (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I’m excited to share the results today. This is a baseline survey. They spoke with 60 local businesses and asked them basic questions about their business and broadband use. It’s interesting to see how local businesses are currently using the internet.
As you can see – top “most important use” is selling.
They also asked what businesses could do differently with quality internet. Here’s an abridged list (I removed suggestions that were similar):
- Could research things faster
- Develop an online retail presence
- Greater internet efficiency = greater profits
- Internet would be faster at work and at home
- Develop website – advertise store products
- It would give us the ability to increase online applications and fishing/camping trips
- It will benefit our business if our individual clients have broadband. This will increase their ability to contact us because their outages will be decreased and they will have greater bandwidth to enable them to utilize some of our company’s services
- Selling online retail (both in and outside the Ely area), now only sell wholesale
- Could increase business by being able to get back to customers on a timely basis – Frontier goes down
- Paying for only one internet service would be nice, now we have two services in case one goes down
- We would have reliable music through the internet for customers
- Not known at this point, too new
- It would help with access to ATM
- If we had better internet we would look at our marketing differently, internet speed impacts how we market
- Internet reliability is important. If the internet is down we can’t check-in guests
Spent the morning in HIbbing talking with people about their broadband projects. They have been part of a project (IRBC) with the Blandin Foundation and IRRRB focused on increasing use of broadband in the area. I’ll include full notes below – but a couple of highlights…
- Working on fiber to community building
- Digital marketing consulting with local businesses
- Connectivity through the libraries
- Tech fair for kids
- PCS for people
Spent yesterday afternoon in Ely talking with people about their broadband projects. (It is actually cool up here – so very nice!) They have been part of a project (IRBC) with the Blandin Foundation and IRRRB focused on increasing use of broadband in the area. I’ll include full notes below – but a couple of highlights…
- The have made a big push with digital marketing – classes and consulting
- Their feasibility study has raised some opportunities and options for partnership
- They have a new website to recruit new Elyites – filled with fun videos.
- They have a new coworking space – open only a month and they have 12 members!
There were 15 people in the room this morning in Cook where it seems like building an ark would make as much sense as talking about broadband. They have been part of a project (IRBC) with the Blandin Foundation and IRRRB focused on increasing use of broadband in the area. I’ll include full notes below – but a couple of highlights…
- The library has a point system for teens that engage in the library (volunteer, check out books…). If you get enough points you get to an overnight at the library – taking advantage of broadband there.
- The town halls are connected and offer wifi. People take advantage of it.
- They are looking at classes on broadband as a home security tool.