A couple dozen folks met last week to talk about broadband in Northwest Minnesota.
The session was half presentation and half discussion. We could hear the frustration of folks who needed better service. It made work and school more difficult. As someone pointed out, patchy broadband access determined business failures and successes, especially among resorts and other hospitality-related businesses.
Access wasn’t the only issue. Affordability was an issue and making sure that folks have the skills to use it. Growing digital skills with people looking for jobs in and out of the tribal community is essential to creating an even playing field.
Broadband and COVID-19 Presentation
Diane Wells, Office of Broadband Development, DEED
Why is broadband important to you/your organization?
What are some best practices for broadband adoption in use in your organization/industry?
What work are you involved within our region to advance broadband access, adoption, affordability, and use?
Next Steps and Closing – Bernadine Joselyn, Blandin Foundation
We’ve been asking broadband regional gathering attendees what they think Minnesota’s greatest opportunities are for improving broadband are, and we’d like to hear from you, too! Learn more here, and take the short survey. (If you attended a regional gathering and took that survey, you need not take this one.)
Also we have an updated agenda for our our second virtual conference.
We’ve added “Coffee and Conversation” casual networking opportunities at 8:30am each conference day.
The Region 5 Broadband Event turned into a great conversation with lots of questions and ideas from attendees and speakers. Interesting to hear the perspective of policymakers and how they focus on to best work with providers.
listen to the session – or half the session due to a tiny glitch:
Cheryal Hills, Executive Director, Region Five Development Commission
Current Broadband Climate (Data from Dept of Broadband)
Diane Wells, MN Dept of Education and Economic Development
Bill Coleman, Broadband Coalition
Panel of Storytellers
Josh Netland, Emily Telephnoe Co-op
Mark Diehl, Little Falls School District
Jim Roeder, Lakewood Health
Facilitated by Don Hickman, Initiative Foundation
Update from Elected Official (Kresha/Poston)
Introduced by Paul Drange, Sourcewell
Small group discussions
Are there individual, group or legislator action steps to be taken that
help communities meet goals/needs over the next 3-5 years?
How can local units of government support broadband efforts?
What are YOU willing to do? What steps can YOU take?
Recap from small groups and Elected Official (Kresha/Poston) Facilitated by Dawn Espe, R5DC
Next Steps- State Broadband Conference by Bill Coleman, Broadband Coalition
The Enhancing Our Regional Broadband Capacity had 40+ people in attendance. The presenters included several elected officials, community leaders, business owners and providers. We heard about the importance of surveys and mapping that paints a real picture of the frontlines and advantage of thinking regionally to get everyone online.
Welcome/Introduction by Raeanne Danielowski, (Chair, Sherburne County Board)
Presentation on true speed for Region 7W (Benton, Sherburne, Stearns and Wright counties) as a baseline for where we are today. Speaker: Diane Wells, Office of Broadband Development, (see PPT) 10:50 to 11:10 a.m. Panel:What activities are currently in the works to enhance broadband capacity
Jolene Foss, facilitator: Panel features in-progress projects in Region 7W. Panelists include:
Darek Vetsch, Wright County Commissioner
Tarryl Clark, Stearns County Commissioner
Jared Gapinski, Benton County Commissioner
Raeanne Danielowski, Sherburne County Commissioner
11:15 to 11:35 a.m. Panel: Economic opportunities associated with enhanced broadband
Don Hickman, facilitator: Private sector and education leaders will explore the potential for enhanced broadband. Panelists include:
Alise Sjostrom, Red Head Creamery in Brooten
Dr. Annesa Cheek, President, St. Cloud Technical and Community College
Angie Brick, Rotochopper, Inc., St. Martin
Amanda Othoudt, Benton Economic Development Partnership
11:35 to 11:50 a.m. Panel: Moving to action
Patti Gartland, facilitator: Panel will explore key next in expanding the region’s broadband capacity. Panelists include:
Laura Kangas, Arvig
Nathan Zacharias, Rural Broadband Coalition
Melissa Wolf, Mid-Continent TeleCo
Closing comments: Nancy Hoffman, Chisago County Economic Development, will share insights into a successful project in Chisago County
Check out the newly released draft agenda for our our second virtual conference, Building on Broadband: Inspiring Progress. This year’s event will feature a series of fast-moving panels on digital innovations, advocacy and actions, and inspired stories from around the state. You’ll have a chance to hear from a lot of smart people, ask your questions, and be inspired by broadband champions and practitioners from around the state!
The eight regional meetings around the state have begun! Check out the conference webpage for a list of gatherings. You can still register to attend some of them – and for the rest you can review the notes and video.
A Regional Broadband Conference is being hosted for the East Central Minnesota community on October 6 from 3-4:30pm at the Braham Event Center in Braham Minnesota to address our regional broadband challenges.
As it becomes increasingly necessary to rely on the internet to work from home, attend school, make telehealth appointments, keep ourselves entertained and visit with family, access to affordable, reliable internet service is imperative.
Who should attend? You, your family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors! Please join us for this important event as we showcase where the region stands today in regard to high-speed internet, where it can be tomorrow and what we can do to get there.
Register to attend in-person or virtually
The East Central Regional Broadband Conference is open to the public and available in-person or virtually through video conferencing (via Zoom) on October 6 at 3pm. The event is free, but registration is requested at https://bit.ly/3gFi9RY.
• If you are interested in attending in-person, join us at the Braham Event Center at 655 8th St. SW, Braham. Fall desserts, ice cream and beverages will be served.
• If selecting the option to participate virtually, registered guests will receive the Zoom link for the event by 10 am on the day of the event (Wed., Oct 6).
State of the state – Diane Wells, from Office of Broadband Development gave a high level look at the funding processes in development and a quick mapping demo and resources, especially look at access in the area
Three presenters (Todd Johnson, Traverse County, Amy Baldwin, Otter Tail County and Ann Treacy of Blandin on Broadband) will talk about broadband projects on the ground.
Lead For Minnesota fellow, Carter Grupp, will introduce himself.
There were 40-50 people in attendance. The run of the day:
A panel on Mapping the Broadband Challenge looked at broadband maps and data collected by DEED’s Office of Broadband Development, the South East Minnesota League of Municipalities and the Minnesota Broadband Coalition.
Two regional initiatives talked about how to advance broadband-fueled economic and community development in the region: Red Wing Ignite and the Le Sueur County Broadband Initiative.
Ended with an exercise to prioritize broadband opportunities in this region, and talk about next steps.
Here are the presentations:
And chat from the day. The chat includes attendee introductions but also any resources share or questions… Continue reading →
A regional broadband summit will be offered as a virtual event 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday.
Conference speakers include representatives from Minnesota Rural Broadband Coalition, Red Wing Ignite and Le Sueur County’s Broadband Initiative. Participants will discuss access and adoption, regional prioritization and how to use American Recovery Act funds for broadband investments.
More info from the Perham Focus on West Central Initiative’s Broadening Our Broadband Regional event, which is part of a series of regional events happening before the Fall (online) Broadband Conference…
West Central Initiative will host Broadening Our Broadband, a discussion featuring a panel of rural broadband industry professionals and policy experts, on Thursday, Sept. 16, at 11 a.m. via Zoom.
The panel will focus on imagining new possibilities that come with enhanced broadband access, learning how communities can prepare for potential future funding opportunities and hearing how the region can leverage broadband access to better support students, businesses and communities. You can register for the event at wcif.org/events.
“High-speed internet access is fundamental to vibrant rural communities,” said Anna Wasescha, West Central Initiative president. “It supports economic development, high-quality health care, equitable education, and more. Broadband discussions … are particularly important in helping to form our region’s long-term, comprehensive broadband implementation strategy. Broadband is no longer a want—it’s a need.”
The panel will feature:
Bernadine Joselyn, director of public policy and engagement at Blandin Foundation;
Greg Wagner, director of business and economic development at West Central Initiative;
Diane Wells, deputy director of the Office of Broadband Development at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development;
Amy Baldwin, community development director for Otter Tail County;
Todd Johnson, Traverse County Commissioner;
Ann Treacy, owner and founder of Treacy Information Services and researcher and contributor to the Blandin on Broadband blog
I’ve been posting about the Fall Broadband Conference (Building on Broadband: Inspiring Progress) for a while. It’ll be a virtual event Oct 12-14 and we’re hoping it will be very interactive. If you have a conversion you’d like to have us host, a story of success to share or a cool tool to demonstration – please let us know.
Leading up to the conference there will be a series of regional events, supported by the Blandin Foundation but hosted by local organizations. I’ve started to post some invitations and some invitations are upcoming but I figured I’d do one framing post – that’s I’ll try to keep updated as the local invitations role in. (I’ll also post those invitations separately.)
Each event will be unique, as each region is unique, but we’re looking for commonalities among the group and areas where we can learn, borrow or build from each other. One day of the Statewide Fall conference, we’ll try to pull those themes out together. So to get in on the conversation early, please consider attending both your regional and then state event.
Another invitation to a regional broadband meeting, which is being held as a precursor to the MN Broadband Conference in October…
The Blandin Foundation, Dept. of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation, Arrowhead Regional Development Commission, Northland Foundation, and Northspan are set to co-host a virtual summit highlighting the challenges and opportunities related to broadband.
The summit, scheduled for Wednesday, September 22nd will be held on Zoom from 9:00-11:00 AM. It is free for all attendees, and participants will learn how other communities across the region are responding to this challenge and how an innovative, connected economy can create a dynamic future.
Community broadband and innovative economy projects
Successful regional infrastructure projects
Arrowhead Intelligent Region grant recipients and their plans
Welcome & Introductions
State of Minnesota Office of Broadband Development
Intelligent Communities Framework and Community Projects and Project Panel Speed Round
Providers and Communities on Successful and Planned Infrastructure Projects
Arrowhead Intelligent Region Grant Recipients
Attendees can register for the Northeast Regional Broadband Summit HERE.
The regional summit is a part of Blandin’s annual statewide broadband conference, Building on Broadband: Inspiring Progress. This year’s statewide conference is virtual and will take place October 12-14. Visit the conference webpage for more information.
It’s been a challenging year. How did broadband help or hinder – or motivate – you, or your community?
This past year has highlighted the need for high-speed broadband connectivity for all communities. What has your community accomplished with good broadband? What have you accomplished despite bad broadband? What energizes and inspires you to keep at it? What cool things are you working on? What would you like to learn more about and discuss?
This is your chance to shape the agenda for our annual broadband conference. Whether you’d like to present, moderate a discussion, make a video about your town’s strengths or needs, or suggest a speaker for organizers to line up. All ideas are welcome!
Give a TED-style talk on a topic of your choice, like “How broadband saved my business (and sanity) during the pandemic.”
Propose a discussion question
Host a virtual tour of your facility
Show us how to use some software, how to set up a public wifi hotspot, etc.
Make a video (commercial-style) showcasing your community’s strengths, or one that demonstrates how badly you need better broadband
If you’d like to get together and brainstorm conference session ideas, attend the Blandin Broadband Lunch Bunch on Wednesday, July 28th at noon. Our original plan was to have attendees attend the comment period of the Governor’s Broadband Task Force Meeting for the first half hour and debrief during Lunch Bunch from 12:30-1, but Mary Magnuson will be opening the Lunch Bunch room at noon and would be happy to talk about your conference session ideas. Register for Lunch Bunch here.
Watch for info about a Regional Gathering near you!
Planning is underway for the eight regional meetings around the state. We’ll share details as they become available. The purpose of these meetings is to share your broadband story, to learn about the state of broadband, and plans around Federal funding opportunities in your neck-of-the-woods.
We’ll be in touch again soon with more information:
We will share information on the regional meetings as details become available.