MN Broadband 2020: Broadband 101: The Ever-Widening Broadband Gap

Thanks to everyone for joining the conversation with Doug Dawson. Doug is not shy about saying it like it is – whether talking about the increases in broadband use per household or the impact when larger providers (such as AT&T) quit offering DSL, especially in rural area where competition is getting scarcer…

The Ever-Widening Broadband Gap

It’s really easy to look at the difference between rural broadband and broadband in towns today and assume that today’s gap has to be closed. The reality is that the speeds, amount of bandwidth, and the way that folks in cities use broadband continue to grow at a rapid rate, and that means that the rural areas fall more behind every year. This is another reason not to built broadband that’s ready for the future. If somebody invests in a 25 Mbps or 50 Mbps technology today, that network is still going to have an astronomical gap compared to an urban network even 5 years from now.

Doug Dawson is the President of CCG Consulting, the largest telecom consulting company with over 1,000 clients. Doug has worked in the industry since 1978 and has both a consulting and an operational background. Doug and CCG specialize in helping clients to launch new broadband markets, open new markets and develop new products. Doug in particular helps clients find ways to finance new ventures. CCG has a varied telecommunications practice and helps clients with engineering, regulatory, operation and planning issues. Doug also writes the daily blog, that covers a wide range of topics for broadband and other related subjects.

Broadband 2020: Digital Office Hours: Pandemic Publishing with Children

Thanks to all who joined us. It was a great mix of folks interested in adoption, deployment and policy. Great conversation and I feel like we’re going to see some partnerships based on the chance to mingle. And thanks to Anne for introducing us to awesome tools to get kids involved in news reporting and storytelling – even during the pandemic!

Pandemic Publishing with Children

This is a case study of an innovative broadband-based local history project of Minnesota Children’s Press publishing club called Story Scouts for rural children ages 5-15, in Cook County, Minnesota. Our goal is to connect community, enlarge children’s agency, mentor 21st century communication and digital skills by creating and publishing local history based on primary source oral interviews and archival research. We successfully published our pilot book during Book Camp August, 2020, called Ice Cream & Fish. We are now documenting a children’s history of the coronavirus pandemic of 2020-21

Anne Brataas is an award-winning journalist, science writer, ( children’s author, ( teacher, instructional designer and publisher of bespoke publications who has served a wide-range of clients for 45 years. These include Nobel prize-winning scientists, individuals and families pursuing memoirs, corporate and local history projects—and children. Since 2000, Anne has been a master teacher for the Minnesota Institute for Talented Youth in St. Paul where she is known for her innovative curriculum, particularly her movement-based curriculum for grades 4-6 on reporting, writing, illustration and digital arts — the “Aerobic Newspaper” class— during which students move the whole time. Anne prioritizes the concerns and world views of children, and works to amplify their voices through books, newspapers and websites ( they produce. Too often children are not included in history. Their concerns and contributions are diminished, trivialized, overlooked and unrecorded. Minnesota Children’s Press is committed to changing this in rural Minnesota—particularly as the turning point year of the coronavirus pandemic radically remakes their futures. Books by kids reclaims their futures.

MN Broadband 2020: Broadband 101 What Should the Network of the Future Do For a Community? by Andrew Cohill, Design Nine

Thanks to Andrew Cohill, Ph.D., President/CEO, Design Nine Inc. for his presentation today!

What should the Network of the Future Do for a Community?

As more communities get access to improved broadband, is just being “faster” enough? It may be time to return to some of the concepts and ideas originally developed in the nineties as part of the Community Network movement.

  • How should a network provide community and economic development benefits to the community beyond raw speed?
  • Should the new networks being deployed provide higher levels of privacy for users?
  • How should the new networks support better delivery of critical health care services, home-based learning, and home-based work?
  • Should the new networks be using a business model different from the decades old “The ISP owns the customer and controls customer choice?”
  • Is the proliferation of smaller ISPs simply carving up large telecom monopolies into smaller, localized ISP fiefdoms where there may be more ISPs, but each ISPs essentially has a monopoly on service in a smaller area?

This session will address some of the critical questions that are not always being asked in the quest for more speed.

Dr. Andrew Cohill is the President and CEO of Design Nine. Cohill has an extensive background in broadband network design, broadband planning, and network construction and operations. Cohill has an international reputation for his work designing and building modern broadband networks. His early work as Director of the Blacksburg Electronic Village accomplished many Internet firsts, including some of the first online commerce, the first Internet-connected schools, and the first business park with fiber Internet as an amenity.

Design Nine provides a full range of network design services, including fiber and wireless network design, network business and financial planning, network engineering and construction specification, and construction management. Design Nine’s sister company, WideOpen Networks, provides a full range of network operations and management services from its 24/7/365 Operations Center in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Design Nine has designed and built hundreds of miles of modern fiber networks in the U.S., and is currently expanding its Gig fiber network in Blacksburg, Virginia. The Blacksburg network, in operation since 2017, is the country’s first privately financed open access FTTH network.

MN Broadband 2020: Digital Office Hours: A Citizens’ Broadband Map: Speed Testing Initiatives in Washington and Minnesota

We had out first Digital Office Hour session this morning. It was great to meet folks who were able to show up and we got a presentation on mapping from the MN Broadband Coalition and partners…

More info on the presenters:

Nathan Zacharias is the Project Manager for the Minnesota Speed Test Initiative. He has been with the Minnesota Rural Broadband Coalition for 3 years and currently serves as their Government Relations Liaison. His previous experience also includes work at the Minnesota State Senate and the U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C. He holds a B.A. in History from Saint Cloud State University and an M.A. in Contemporary Political History from the University of Connecticut. Nathan considers expanding broadband one of the most important issues facing the state in the coming months and years.

Russ Elliott is the Director of the Washington State Broadband Office. Prior to his role in Washington, Russ stood up the Wyoming State Broadband Office where he developed innovative tools to quantify broadband needs for the state. Russ has 25 years of C-level leadership including 12 years building and running and eventually selling western Colorado’s largest independent ISP/CLEC. Services included fiber, copper, licensed and unlicensed wireless delivered over the very rural parts of western Colorado and northern New Mexico. Russ has sat on state boards and led regional telecommunication organizations.

Steve Giorgi is the Executive Director of the Range Association of Municipalities and Schools (RAMS). Steve was born and raised on the Iron Range, a graduate of Mt. Iron High School and Vermilion Community CollegeHe worked at US Steel Minntac for 10 years, is a proud retired member of Local 1938, and former school board director for Mt Iron-Buhl District #712. He spent 27 years at AFSCME Council 65 and retired as the Associate Director for the Council. He is also a member of the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband, Executive Board Member of the MN Rural Broadband Coalition, and tireless advocate for the expansion of broadband in rural Minnesota. He has been married for 39 years to Delanie, has two children—both teachers—and is a proud grandpa of 3 beautiful and talented grandchildren.

Glenn Fishbine is the CTO of GEO Partners and focuses on GEO’s software platform and performs some of the analytics provided to end-users. He is proficient in multiple technologies including software, biometrics, optics, and electronic manufacturing. He has worked on projects in the USA, Indonesia, and Japan (with NEC). He has startup through IPO experience, founding Digital Biometrics, Inc., the first commercially successful biometric company (NASDAQ: DBII, now a subsidiary of Sagem). He has 13 patents and multiple fiction and nonfiction books to his credit. He graduated from the University of New Mexico with a BA in Political Science and Economics in 1973 and from the University of Minnesota with an MA in Political Science in 1976.

MN Broadband 2020: Connected We Stand – Planning your week Oct 12-16 daily agendas

You are invited to join the Blandin Broadband crew for week two of the monthlong dispersed broadband conference. It’s a little less intense this week but we have events every day. We won’t take attendance but we’d love to see you there. It’s free and open!

There are three types of activities:

  • Digital Office Hours (11:45pm) am-1pm) every day: Join us for casual conversation and fellowship. Each day we have a host, who will give a brief presentation at 11:15 followed by more conversation
  • Broadband 101 (1:00-1:45pm) every day: a national broadband consultant or vendor will present on their area of expertise
  • Oct 15: (3-4pm) there will be a special workshop with Molly O’Leary from NTCA
  • Oct 15: (4:30-6pm): Coleman’s Happy Hour

The complete agenda (with links for more info and links to register and/or login) is below. Remember you can also get info from the Blandin Foundation Conference webpage.

Hope you see you this week!!

Monday, October 12

Tuesday, October 13

Wednesday, October 14

Thursday, October 15

Friday, October 16

Broadband 2020: Oct 8: Bringing Broadband to Rural America: Opportunities and Challenges Post-Pandemic & Mentor Sessions

Shirley Bloomfield gave a great report on what’s happening in DC and what’s happening in rural America and how those perspectives are interacting. We learned abtou Smart Rural Communities, the digital rural-rural divide, some funding opportunities and some barriers.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown not only how important broadband is for all Americans, but it has also presented an opportunity to help fuel a rural renaissance with the creation of more Smart Rural Communities. The network of Smart Rural Community providers works to keep small-town American connected. They lead and collaborate on broadband-enabled projects that improve economic development, provide technology for advancing education, telemedicine, precision agriculture and other community services. This presentation will focus on the opportunities that broadband can bring to rural communities and the challenges that exist in bringing broadband to rural America.

Shirley Bloomfield is the CEO of NTCA. With more than 30 years of experience representing the country’s smallest independent telecom operators, she is an expert in federal communications policies and sustaining the vitality of rural and remote communities and the benefits rural broadband networks bring to the national economy.

Shirley is also active in leadership efforts to seek synergies and align strategic partnerships among rural telecom companies, their larger counterparts, other rural utilities and federal agencies, and to further expand business opportunities for NTCA members. In addition to her service to NTCA, she also spent time as a senior executive at both Verizon and Qwest. She serves as a board member of the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative and GlobalWin, an organization of women leaders in the high-tech industry.

Mentor Sessions

We also hosted mentor sessions, which really turned out to be “learn from each other” sessions, because new and online formats promote fluidity. We had some awesome people in the room and as awesome people do, it sounds like the connected and seeds were sown for projects that I’m sure we’ll be showcasing next year.

Statewide Broadband Speed test: Which county has the most testers? Not too late to compete!!

The MN Broadband Coalition is asking folks to take a broadband speed test – from home, from work, from wherever you are. Why? Because those tests will be used to create a map based on what customers report from the front lines. The more tests people take the better the maps will be. The speed tests will be mapped by GEO Partners to clearly show the speeds available throughout the state. (Learn more.)

The Coalition was kind enough to give us an insider glimpse on which counties are most active on the maps. You can see below but also know – tomorrow morning Broadband 2020 conference attendees will test their broadband (and chat about it) before the first session! Also – the Coalition will be hosting an “office hours” session as part of the conference on Monday October 12!

Aitkin County Count 224
Anoka County Count 138
Ashland County Count 1
Barron County Count 1
Becker County Count 38
Beltrami County Count 40
Benton County Count 125
Big Stone County Count 23
Blue Earth County Count 96
Brown County Count 46
Burnett County Count 3
Carlton County Count 1168
Carver County Count 71
Cass County Count 87
Chautauqua County Count 2
Chippewa County Count 58
Chisago County Count 152
Clay County Count 21
Clearwater County Count 4
Cook County Count 63
Cottonwood County Count 48
Crow Wing County Count 113
Dakota County Count 372
Dallas County Count 1
Dodge County Count 104
Douglas County Count 201
Eau Claire County Count 5
Erie County Count 1
Faribault County Count 37
Fillmore County Count 139
Freeborn County Count 119
Goodhue County Count 138
Grand Forks County Count 1
Grant County Count 7
Grundy County Count 1
Hennepin County Count 376
Houghton County Count 2
Houston County Count 41
Howard County Count 1
Hubbard County Count 18
Iron County Count 1
Isanti County Count 67
Itasca County Count 998
Jackson County Count 20
Kanabec County Count 47
Kandiyohi County Count 186
Kane County Count 1
Kankakee County Count 1
Kittson County Count 6
Knox County Count 1
Koochiching County Count 602
La Crosse County Count 2
Lac qui Parle County Count 20
Lake County Count 79
Lake of the Woods County Count 7
Laramie County Count 1
Le Sueur County Count 384
Lincoln County Count 10
Louisa County Count 1
Lucas County Count 1
Lyon County Count 43
Mahnomen County Count 5
Marshall County Count 6
Martin County Count 69
McLeod County Count 35
Medina County Count 1
Meeker County Count 19
Mille Lacs County Count 68
Minnehaha County Count 1
Monroe County Count 3
Morrison County Count 53
Morton County Count 1
Mower County Count 92
Murray County Count 53
Niagara County Count 1
Nicollet County Count 53
Nobles County Count 46
Norman County Count 6
not found Count 167
Olmsted County Count 752
Ontario County Count 1
Otter Tail County Count 91
Outagamie County Count 1
Pennington County Count 14
Pierce County Count 3
Pine County Count 220
Pipestone County Count 14
Polk County Count 48
Pope County Count 169
Ramsey County Count 198
Red Lake County Count 2
Redwood County Count 194
Renville County Count 44
Rice County Count 106
Rock County Count 4
Roseau County Count 17
Saginaw County Count 1
Sawyer County Count 4
Scott County Count 576
Shawano County Count 1
Sherburne County Count 99
Sibley County Count 41
St. Croix County Count 9
St. Joseph County Count 1
St. Louis County Count 5846
Stearns County Count 125
Steele County Count 26
Stevens County Count 16
Summit County Count 1
Swift County Count 16
Todd County Count 48
Traverse County Count 22
Trempealeau County Count 2
Tuscola County Count 2
Wabasha County Count 110
Wadena County Count 18
Walworth County Count 2
Waseca County Count 48
Washington County Count 296
Washtenaw County Count 1
Watonwan County Count 101
Wayne County Count 1
White County Count 1
Wilkin County Count 3
Winneshiek County Count 1
Winona County Count 102
Wright County Count 192
Yellow Medicine County Count 33


Broadband 2020: Oct 7: Digital Infrastructure to Transformation: Leveraging Broadband for Community Economic Development 

From Digital Infrastructure to Transformation: Leveraging Broadband for Community Economic Development 

Digital applications and uses to help communities leverage this technology to improve their quality of lives. (download presentation)

Roberto Gallardo

Roberto Gallardo is Assistant Director of the Purdue Center for Regional Development and a Purdue Extension Community & Regional Economics Specialist. He holds an electronics engineering undergraduate degree, a master’s in economic development, and a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration. Gallardo has worked with rural communities over the past decade conducting local & regional community economic development, including use of technology for development.

He has authored more than 70 articles including peer-reviewed and news-related regarding rural trends, socioeconomic analysis, industrial clusters, the digital divide, and leveraging broadband applications for community economic development. He is also the author of the book “Responsive Countryside: The Digital Age & Rural Communities”, which highlights a 21st century community development model that helps rural communities transition to, plan for, and prosper in the digital age. Dr. Gallardo is a TEDx speaker and his work has been featured in a WIRED magazine article, a documentary, and a RFDTV documentary. He lives in West Lafayette with his wife and two daughters.

Broadband 2020: Oct 7: Border-to-Border Broadband Project Presentations for the MN Task Force

Border-to-Border Broadband Development Fund Grantee Presentations

Hear about how Minnesota’s Border-to-Border Broadband Development Fund grants are impacting communities.

Rock County

Learn about the history behind Rock County’s border-to-border broadband as well as the projects we have been able to implement because of the broadband available in our county.

Kyle Oldre, Rock County Administrator and Emergency

Management Director.

Calla Jarvie is the library director for the Rock County Community Library in Luverne, Minnesota. Jarvie is the project leader for the Blandin Broadband Communities project in Rock County.


What expanded Broadband means to the City of Melrose’s Industrial Park Expansion.

Hear about the “history” of Arvig and the Border-to-Border grant program. Melrose was the first gigabit city in the state of Minnesota and yet there were three businesses south of the interstate that needed more. There is always another pocket to serve.

Mark Birkholz is responsible for sales, operation and service delivery in the Southern Markets, which consists of eight companies and more than 32,000 core service accounts for Arvig.  Mark also is the Director of Customer Relations.  Since 1993, his experience in the communications industry has included management of accounting functions, customer service, billing, sales, marketing, human resources, regulatory, and information technology. Mark joined Arvig Enterprises in 2005 along with the acquisition of Midwest Information Systems, Inc. (MIS). He earned a BS degree in Accounting from Dickinson State University and an Associate’s degree in Sales and Marketing Management from the University of Minnesota, Crookston.

Colleen Winter, City Administrator, City of Melrose. Colleen  serves as the chief administrative officer of the City and is responsible for all day to day operations, policies and governance of the City and Utilities. Colleen has over 30 years experience in local government administration, economic and community development.

10:20   Breakout Sessions with Task Force Subcommittees

ng rural trends, socioeconomic analysis, industrial clusters, the digital divide, and leveraging broadband applications for community economic development. He is also the author of the book “Responsive Countryside: The Digital Age & Rural Communities”, which highlights a 21st century community development model that helps rural communities transition to, plan for, and prosper in the digital age. Dr. Gallardo is a TEDx speaker and his work has been featured in a WIRED magazine article, a documentary, and a RFDTV documentary. He lives in West Lafayette with his wife and two daughters.

Blandin Broadband 101 – A conference within a conference

Have you always wanted to attend a national broadband conference to learn from the very best consultants and broadband providers?  Broadband 101 – a conference within the Broadband 2020: Connected We Stand conference, starts Monday, October 12 right from your desktop.  For two weeks, each day at 1 pm, a nationally recognized expert will address a key community broadband topic.  No registration fee, no travel expense, open to all!

Our speakers hail from across the country, including a couple right here in Minnesota.  Topics include fiber optics, 5G, federal funding sources, feasibility studies and provider partnerships, and rights of way management.  We will also have a bonus public policy seminar on the afternoon of October 15th followed by a fun happy hour session.

Get complete details at .

Broadband 2020: Oct 6 happy hour preview of Oct 7: Broadband Task Force & Roberto Gallardo

We enjoyed an intimate open-house style happy hour tonight. And it was ladies night! I thought to capture the crowd at one point but people came and went. I brought my old MRNet Scavenger t-shirt from 1994 and as it turned out two of us worked at MRnet, which was *the* Minnesota ISP back in 1994. That got us talking about the “good old days” and it reminded us of the timeline we had at the 2019 broadband conference. I told folks I’d share the video tonight. It’s a fun throwback:

Feels like a lifetime ago but remembering the quick paced time of the early Internet helped us remember that times come and go.

Also, I wanted to give people a heads up on the events of tomorrow:

The conference will be hosting the MN Broadband Task Force. We’re delighted to be able to interact with them.

The Task Force will continue meeting after Roberto’s presentation. It’s open to the public and attendees are encouraged to join them. At 1:30 to see them at work. That won’t be hosted by the Blandin Foundation but you can get links to join the online meeting.

Last minute issues? You can get links to the Blandin portion of the meeting online and/or watch the livestream on YouTube or follow the Twitter hashtag #mnbroadband.

Broadband 2020: Oct 6: Day One: Digital Showcase

Welcome to the first day of the new online format for Broadband 2020: Connected We Stand. We start with a welcome from Blandin Foundation’s Bernadine Joselyn.

The were followed by The Digital Showcase: A series of fast-moving presentations and demos by people from around the state who are using technology and the internet in innovative ways. Emphasis on fast paced – but we did make time for some dancing!

Below are bios followed by PPTs when available.


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).

Mary Lucic holds a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Management from Hamline University and is currently the Community Outreach & Fundraising Manager at PCs for People. Her passion for nonprofit work is shown through all the unwavering dedication to closing the digital divide. Mary works closely with the Blandin Broadband Communities Program to distribute refurbished desktop computers to low-income families within each community.

Winona Friendship Center

The Friendship Center began virtual programming via Zoom in 2012. What initially began as offering remote exercise online for isolated older adults has grown to total virtual programming during a pandemic. Learn how we convince the “I’ll never use a computer” person to partake in programs via a tablet/iPad.

Malia Fox has been the Director of Winona Friendship Center for 26 years. She has a degree in Music Therapy with 35+ years of working in gerontology. She is on the National Council on Aging/National Institute of Senior Centers executive committee and chairs the Best Practice committee for innovative senior center programming. The Winona Friendship Center remains the only nationally accredited senior center in the state of Minnesota.

Kairos Alive!

Kairos Alive! has been developing exciting interactive 2-way webcast creativity and health engagement programs based in dance, music, story and research learning for older adults in intergenerational communities via Zoom for 3 years. Our current webcast, Creativity Together™, is reaching audiences in the Twin Cities, greater Minnesota and NE Wisconsin, and is attracting participants from around the country.

Maria Genné, founder/director is a dancer, choreographer and educator, recognized as a pioneering leader in the intergenerational interactive participatory performing arts, and arts and health fields. Her national award-winning work is designed to tap into the artistry and creativity of older adults and invite them to be central collaborators in the artistic process of dance, music and storytelling. It models a new and vital role in society for the community based professional performing artist, and new possibilities of intergenerational community enjoyment and understanding. In 2001, Maria developed The Dancing Heart™, a nationally recognized, evidence-based program which engages older adults of all abilities in weekly, intergenerational, interactive arts participation and health education. Kairos was featured in the 2012 PBS documentary, Arts & the Mind, and is recognized as a model arts involvement program by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Center for Creative Aging (NCCA), and winner of awards for program innovation by the American Public Health Association, American Society on Aging, and others.


Minnesota Libraries & Libraries Without Borders bring literacy, digital literacy and library services to folks in and outside of a library. Learn about pilot projects happening in Minnesota – especially with laundromats and manufactured housing parks.

As a State Library Program Specialist with the Minnesota Department of Education, Hannah Buckland administers state aid to Minnesota’s public libraries and supports statewide library initiatives related to digital inclusion, civic engagement, and workforce development. She previously worked as the Director of Library Services at Leech Lake Tribal College in Leech Lake Nation. She is a member of the American Library Association’s Policy Corps, where she works on federal broadband issues affecting libraries, and also serves on the Minnesota Library Association Board of Directors.

At Libraries Without Borders, Adam Echelman creates partnerships and strategies to promote access to information, working with public libraries, trade associations (like laundromats), and public agencies. Adam is a Visiting Professor of Practice at John Jay College, where he teaches on outreach, organizing, and access to information for vulnerable communities. He has worked with RAICES Texas and Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services in New Haven, CT. A Yale graduate, Adam speaks Spanish, French, and Mandarin Chinese.

Minnesota Children’s Press Story Scouts

Boreal Corps is a program that is using technology to help kids help others to tell stories. They have been working on COVID communication in their community.

Anne Brataas is an award-winning newspaper reporter and columnist turned children’s book author, teacher and publisher of child-authored and -illustrated publications. Anne covered science, health, medicine and the environment for 20 years for major metropolitan newspapers before moving to Grand Marais, Minnesota in 2015.

In 2003, Anne pioneered the practice of children grades 4-6 writing and illustrating their own newspapers with the goal to amplify the voices of youth and the impacts they have on community, as well as to help the earliest learners create portfolios for practical 21st Century digital communication fields.

As a science writer, Anne specializes in bringing creative clarity to difficult ideas. In founding the educational non-profit Minnesota Children’s Press based in Grand Marais, she now teaches the youngest learners, grades 2-8 in rural Minnesota to do the

Wolf Creek Online High School

Wolf Creek Online is an innovative Online Public School Option for all Minnesota students grades 9-12 and up to age 21. They have been teaching successfully teaching students online for years.

Tracy L. Quarnstrom has served as the director of Wolf Creek Online High school since 2003. Wolf Creek is Minnesota’s only hybrid online high school which offers students an online experience while still offering the advantages of face to face interactions several days per week. Quarnstrom has been very involved in the creation of online learning legislation in the state of Minnesota as well as in organizations that promote quality online choices for students and families. She served on the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools board of directors from 2009-2011 as well as on the government affairs committee. She was a founding member of the MNOLA (Minnesota Organization for K12 Online learning Alliance) group and served as a member of legislative committee for several years. She has taught in a adjunct capacity for Hamline University teaching classes on topic of leadership in organizations.

GigaZone Gaming

An annual community focused gaming competition hosted by Paul Bunyan Communications. The event draws participants from all over northern Minnesota to compete in tournaments in various popular on and offline video games for a chance to win cash, prizes, and prestige. It is currently in it’s fifth year of operation.

Leo Anderson,Technology Experience Manager, Paul Bunyan Communications

Precision Agriculture

Precision Ag with Land o’Lakes; they talk about how their work with their members to use technology to streamline and improve agri-businesses in the field.

Katie Kruger,


Great Plains Telehealth Resource & Assistance Center (gpTRAC) helps healthcare providers develop and implement telehealth programs. Their mandate is to promote telehealth through training, technical assistance (consultation), and outreach activities.

Mary DeVany is the Associate Director for the Great Plains Telehealth Resource and Assistance Center (GPTRAC), within the Institute of Health Informatics at the University of Minnesota. She has been involved with telemedicine activities since 1993 when she served as the state-wide telemedicine activities coordinator for the State of South Dakota.  Since then, she has served as the Director of Telehealth at Nebraska Medicine in Omaha, Director of Avera Telehealth and before that as the Telemedicine Coordinator for Sanford Health. “Every time I visit with someone just beginning to think about telehealth, I get excited and re-energized about the many possibilities and for what the future holds.”

gpTRAC slides

eNews: MN Monthly Recap: Broadband Conference and MN Broadband County Profiles (Oct 2020)

Today’s eNews is a little different. First, the fall Broadband Conference starts tomorrow. It’s not too late to sign up. Second, the annual County Broadband Profiles have just been released; we how you rank.

OPPORTUNITY! Broadband 2020: Connected We Stand
The Blandin conference planning team s looking forward to the annual conference inaugural online experience – and monthlong series of opportunities. Starting tomorrow! This week we have the Digital Inclusion Showcase, a day with the MN Broadband Task Force, keynotes Roberto Gallardo and Shirley Bloomfield  and a special mentor matchmaking session!

Then we have two weeks of lunchtime conversations and Broadband 101 seminars. Following by a week of programming that’s still in the making but will definitely include keynotes from Tom Friedman and Deb Socia and a conversation on the annual MN County Broadband Reports.

See how your county ranks…

  1. Aitkin County –
  2. Anoka County –
  3. Becker County –
  4. Beltrami County –
  5. Benton County –
  6. Big Stone County –
  7. Blue Earth County –
  8. Brown County –
  9. Carlton County –
  10. Carver County –
  11. Cass County –
  12. Chippewa County –
  13. Chisago County –
  14. Clay County –
  15. Clearwater County –
  16. Cook County –
  17. Cottonwood County –
  18. Crow Wing County –
  19. Dakota County –
  20. Dodge County –
  21. Douglas County –
  22. Faribault County –
  23. Fillmore County –
  24. Freeborn County –
  25. Goodhue County –
  26. Grant County –×2
  27. Hennepin County –×6
  28. Houston County –
  29. Hubbard County –
  30. Isanti County –
  31. Itasca County –
  32. Jackson County –
  33. Kanabec County –
  34. Kandiyohi County –
  35. Kittson County –
  36. Koochiching County –
  37. Lac qui Parle County –
  38. Lake County –
  39. Lake of the Woods County –
  40. Le Sueur County –
  41. Lincoln County –
  42. Lyon County –
  43. Mahnomen County –
  44. Marshall County –
  45. Martin County –
  46. McLeod County –
  47. Meeker County –
  48. Mille Lacs County –
  49. Morrison County –
  50. Mower County –
  51. Murray County –
  52. Nicollet County –
  53. Nobles County –
  54. Norman County –
  55. Olmsted County –
  56. Otter Tail County –
  57. Pennington County –
  58. Pine County –
  59. Pipestone County –
  60. Polk County –
  61. Pope County –
  62. Ramsey County –
  63. Red Lake County –
  64. Redwood County –
  65. Renville County –
  66. Rice County –
  67. Rock County –
  68. Roseau County –
  69. Saint Louis County –
  70. Scott County –
  71. Sherburne County –
  72. Sibley County –
  73. Stearns County –
  74. Steele County –
  75. Stevens County –
  76. Swift County –
  77. Todd County –
  78. Traverse County –
  79. Wabasha County –
  80. Wadena County –
  81. Waseca County –
  82. Washington County –
  83. Watonwan County –
  84. Wilkin County –
  85. Winona County –
  86. Wright County –
  87. Yellow Medicine County –

Check out the interactive map on the Blandin Foundation website.

Governor’s Task Force on Broadband Meeting Oct 7: Agenda

The next Broadband Task Force is scheduled during the fall broadband conference Broadband 2020: Connected We Stand. The Task Force will be with the Broadband conference through the morning. Then the conference ends and the Task Force will reconvene at 1:30.

There are a couple ways to approach attending:

Below the agenda from the Office of Broadband Development.

Governor’s Task Force on Broadband

October 7, 2020

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

(Note the 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. portion of the meeting will be held jointly with Blandin Conference

Webex/Conference Call 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.:
Dial-in: 1-619-377-3319 or 1-888-742-5095, Passcode 3249482049

Meeting link:

Meeting Number: 130 631 1709

Password: DEED


Joint Meeting with Blandin Foundation Fall Conference: Broadband 2020: Connected We Stand

9:00 a.m. – 9:20 a.m.  Welcome

9:20 a.m. – 10:20 a.m. Border-to-Border Broadband Development Fund Grantee Presentations Hear about how Minnesota broadband grants impacted communities

10:20 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Breakout Sessions with Task Force Subcommittees

10:45 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Report Back and Task Force Thank You

11:00 a.m. — 12:00 p.m. From Digital Infrastructure to Transformation: Leveraging Broadband for Community Economic Development

Roberto Gallardo, Ph.D., Director, Purdue Center for Regional Development; and C&RE Specialist, Purdue Extension, W Lafayette, IN This presentation will discuss some digital applications and uses to help communities leverage this technology to improve their quality of lives.

12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Break

Please join via WebEx (instructions above) for the 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. portion of the meeting:

1:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. Welcome, Task Force Introductions, Attendee Introductions and Approval of Minutes from September 8, 2020 Meeting

1:45 p.m. – 2:20 p.m.  Subgroup Report Out

2:20 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Public Comment, Other Business, November Meeting Plans, Wrap-up