Digital Inclusion Showcase: #MNBroadband Conference 2017

There are two essential parts of a broadband plan – having it and using it. Hear from folks around Minnesota who have been creative about getting their community to make better use of broadband. See demonstrations and hear stories from a variety of organizations and projects from around the state.

Facilitated by Ann Treacy, Treacy Information Services

Show and Tell Sessions:

Arrowhead Telepresence Coalition
The ATC is a virtual collaborative focused on developing and expanding an integrated behavioral health network that connects community behavioral health providers with schools, jails, rural hospitals, law enforcement, tribal providers, and others to better serve its community members. Ric Schaefer

Business Training/Assessments
Before joining the Blandin Foundation full time, Alie worked with Itasca Economic Development Corporation to development business digital use surveys and design training and advising opportunities to help get local businesses to make better use of technology. Alie McInerney

Community Technology Empowerment Project
While CTEP AmeriCorps members mostly teach basic digital literacy like Microsoft Word and Basic Computers, AmeriCorps members also dream up and deploy digital literacy projects in and around the Twin Cities. Projects have included creating digital scavenger hunts, computer giveaways, teaching kids to do video production, and blogging about social issues.  Lisa Peterson-de la Cueva

Facebook for Civic/Public Meetings
While following broadband stories for the Blandin on Broadband blog, Ann has been livestreaming public meetings. It’s easy and a good way to make it easy for citizens to see what’s happening now and have a record for later.
Ann Treacy
Handout on how to livestream on Facebook

Online Gaming Contest
Paul Bunyan is hosting their second annual GigaZone Gaming Championship. Participants compete in online tournaments for real money. Games include Overwatch 3×3, Madden 18, Super Smash Brothers, Mario Kart 8, Street Fighter 5 and more.  Leo Anderson

PCs for People
PCs for People refurbishes donated computers to distribute to low income households. They also offer affordable tech support and Internet access (where available). IN a partnership with the Blandin Foundation, PCs for People has been working with rural communities around Minnesota. Sam Drong

Project FINE
Project FINE focuses on integrating new Americans to their new home in Winona. They offer a range of classes and services including technology training from the ground up in multiple languages and opportunities for kids to learn how to code. Fatima Said FSaid@Co.Winona.MN.US

Red Wing Ignite (from Coder Dojo to Ignite Cup)
Red Wing Ignite is helping their town capitalize on their Gig access by fostering innovation by supporting students, entrepreneurs and businesses. This includes such things as contests that challenge and reward local innovators, a CoderDojo for students, local tech internship projects and more. Neela Mollgaard & Shannan Harris

“Virtual Reality is Here.” Learn how this new medium opens up a world of new experiences with your smartphone. And here about how Chuck has used it for a wide range of purposes – music videos, promotions and social justice. Chuck Olsen

I’m very pleased to share notes from CTEP worker Camilla Dreasher

Showcase Notes

  • Introduction by Ann Tracy
    • Session Outline
      • Quick Presentations, then Q&A walking around Tables

PCs for People

  • Sam Drong
  • Who are the digitally distant?
    • Income
    • Low income users still use the internet
    • DOES affect at home internet access
    • RACE
    • African Americans and Latinos significantly less likely to have access to the internet
    • Why do people not have internet?
      • Previously: relevance to their lives
      • Now: cost is the largest barrier to internet access. (43% of Pew research participants).
  • What is PCs for People?
    • Distribute computers to people below 200% of the poverty level
      • Or disabled, or on government assistance
    • Internet service
      • Pay as you go
        • $10-$13 a month
        • w/ Sprint
          • 16,000 active subscribers
        • Electronics recycling company
          • 400 companies in MN
          • Microsoft registered refurbisher (Windows 10)
          • Partnership w/ MSS
        • Repair Computers
          • $25 Repairs any computers

VISUAL Chuck Olsen

  • What is VR
    • Immersive headset
    • Replace entire visual field
  • Pain Relief, engaging seniors,

Red Wing Ignite Neela Mollgaard and Shannan Harris

  • Have Broadband in ________
    • Bring opportunities to people in the
    • APPS for good.
    • College Tech Internships
      • Made website for local company
    • Corporate internship
    • T.E.A.M.
      • Science, technology, engineering, arts, & math
    • Co-working and meeting space
      • Provide office resources for entrepreneurs
      • Redwing maker space at MN state college Southeast
    • Economic impact of Broadband
      • Help Businesses launch
      • Help established businesses find resources and connect

Fatima Said and Katie Project FINE

  • Train refugees and immigrants to work with technology
    • 2011 67 participants
      • 48 participants got computers through PCs for People
    • 2012
      • 80 participants, 71 computers distributed
        • Added laptops and technology tutor
      • 2013
        • 53 participants 10 computers distributed
          • New focus on online research
            • Learned PowerPoint and online research
          • 2014
            • 40 participants
            • Social media
              • Focus on safety, computer training, building community
              • Made Facebook pages for diverse community
              • 1580 followers on the Hmong Facebook page
              • 908 followers for Hispanic Facebook page
            • 100% had internet at home ~90% had internet at home
          • 2015 .COM Creative Online Market Place
            • Building online presence for refugee and immigrant business owners
            • 40 participants
            • 17 online marketing Plan
            • 10 People got a new website or social media page
          • 2016-2017
            • Learn to Code
            • Coading and App Development with Local Immigrant and refugee youth
            • 50 afterschool kids
            • 10 volunteer mentors
            • Organized visits to local tech businesses and MN State College Southeast
          • Lessons Learned
            • Know your audience, know your resources, know your goals

Lisa Peterson-de la Cueva

CTEP is the BEST!!!

Allie McInerny Business training/Assessments

  • Tech assessments
    • Make technology more useful and relevant for businesses and Itasca County
    • Improve tech utilization by local businesses
    • Define a business’ Technology Goals, Create a plan to meet those goals, support the business in meeting those goals.
  • Example Recommendations
    • Chiropractor, Was trying to use canned content to engage followers
      • Tailored posts to his proposed clientele
    • Local Business, had a website and Facebook page but they were rarely updated
      • Removed online shopping and began offering discounts and promotions on Facebook to reward established customers
    • Results
      • 40 Business, 8 grants, 1 loan, 50% attended additional digital training, 50% made changes, 50% improved marketing, 80% improved engagement with community, ___% would recommend program to others.
      • Take always, improved engagement with clients improved their results with the program. The Recommendations and assessments had to be tailored to individual businesses.

Rick Schaefer Arrowhead Telepresence Coalition

  • The ATC focuses on bringing behavioral health resources to people in the Arrowhead region who otherwise wouldn’t have access to these services.
  • A state-wide network adapted from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Telepresence network
  • Used By
    • Rural residents
    • Jails
    • Rural hospitals
    • Schools
  • Allows collaboration by local community health practitioners, clinics and hospitals which increases access to care.
  • Access to broadband it vital to use or expand telepresence utilization


Leo Anderson 2nd Annual Gaming Championship

The Gigazone gaming competition stemmed from people bringing their gaming machines to test the latency on gigabit internet speeds

  • Internet latency has a huge impact on digital gaming competitions
    • Most rural internet connections 80ms latency
    • Gig internet ~17ms latency
    • E-Sports competition
      • GigaZone Gaming Championship
      • Finals in the Stanford Center in Bemidji
      • 2500-3000 attendees this year
    • Marketed internship opportunities to local youth and improved engagement
  • League of Legends, Overwatch, Galaga, Pac Man, arcade cabinets

Ann Tracy Using Facebook Live to livestream meetings and improve engagement

Broadband 101: #MNBroadband Conference 2017

This session will improve community leaders’ ability to make smart decisions and create partnerships to deliver wired and wireless broadband technologies.

Panelists include
Diane Kruse of NEO Connect
Albert Kangas of Palmer Wireless
Tom Johnson of Nobles County
Mark Mrla of Finley Engineering
Bill Coleman of Community Technology Advisors

I’m especially happy to share notes from CTEP worker Brandon Phan:

Diane Kruse

  • Fiber “snob” advocate
    • It’s reliable, bandwidth keeps growing
  • “Bandwidth drives innovation”
  • Wireless is a good short-term solution
    • However, you need cell towers
  • Downside of fiber is it’s expensive, takes time to build, debt coverage
    • Mitigate debt risk
  • Can cost $8,000-$10,000 to set up broadband for each house
    • Can increase property value
  • Partnerships essential to reduce capital cost

Mark Marla

  • With Finley Company
  • Goals with Feasibility Studies: study multiple options, provide best chances on broadband network
  • Tech option examples: wireless (tower based), fiber (active, passive, etc), other tech, hybrid tech
  • Studies conducted with 3-4 month periods
    • Depends on size, complexity, details, and services required
    • Community involvement essential via surveys, speed test verifications, education
    • Importance of effectively developing surveys (wording, sampling)
      • Understanding what people can/can’t do with internet access
  • What are schools doing? Class needs, tech, broadband to support educational experience

Register Today! 2017 Border to Border Broadband conference

I want to be sure to post reminders of the upcoming Fall Broadband conference (this one originally went out via email)…

We hope you will be joining us for Border to Border Broadband: Bridging the Gaps – Expanding the Impact, our annual broadband conference, October 25-26 at Madden’s on Gull Lake in Brainerd. This year’s conference draws inspiration from around the state to showcase a variety of approaches that rural communities have developed to expand broadband’s impact, leverage investments, and bridge the digital divide. But inspiration doesn’t stop at Minnesota’s border! Our keynote presenter, Dr. Roberto Gallardo will travel to Madden’s by way of the Purdue Center for Regional Development to pose the question, Is Rural Minnesota Poised for the Digital Age?

The Digital Economy is growing exponentially. Communities that are prepared will soar; those that aren’t will fall farther and farther behind. Roberto Gallardo has been watching this growth and the impact on rural areas. He understands the connection between broadband, digital inclusion and economic vitality at the community and individual level. He will share his most recent research on the impact of broadband on rural areas with a real focus on Minnesota, giving us insights on how we compare with other states – information we can use to inspire community leaders, policymakers and providers. Get a taste of what Roberto has to share in his TEDxJackson talk from 2016.

Check out the conference webpage for more details, including the preliminary agenda.

Register Today!

The 2017 Border to Border Broadband conference is your opportunity to connect and reconnect with others working for a future in which everyone in Minnesota will be able to use convenient, affordable world-class broadband networks that enable us to survive and thrive in our communities and across the globe.

We hope to see you there!

~Bernadine Joselyn
Blandin Foundation

2017 Border to Border Broadband Conference: Bridging the Gaps – Expanding the Impact Oct 25-26

Mark your calendar…

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.”–Benjamin Franklin

Mark your calendar now for the 2017 Border to Border Broadband Conference: Bridging the Gaps – Expanding the Impact

Rural Minnesota communities are “above average” in broadband access and use; 78% of rural Minnesota households enjoy fixed internet access at speeds the FCC defines as broadband, compared to 61% of rural residents nationally who have access to those speeds.

Drawing inspiration from around the state, this year’s conference will showcase this success with a look at the variety of approaches that rural communities have developed to expand broadband’s impact, leverage investments, and bridge the digital divide.

October 25-26, 2017
Location: Madden’s on Gull Lake

Learn more!