Blandin Broadband Conference
The Blandin Foundation broadband conference was a big hit in November. It started with Jim Baller http://tinyurl.com/yh76c3e promoting faster goal broadband speeds for Minnesota. The next day the Broadband Task Force spoke about their recommendations. http://tinyurl.com/ylj33pk They highlighted the goal of ubiquitous broadband in the state and the need for public-private partnerships. Students spoke about their vision for future http://tinyurl.com/yjgb5jl and ARRA grant applicants voiced some frustration with the slow process of federal funding http://tinyurl.com/yf5ajqg. Get reflections from the conference as well as videos and notes from conference sessions online. http://tinyurl.com/yjajyrf
Broadband Task Force Recommendations
In November, after more than a year of work and research, the Minnesota Ultra High-Speed Broadband Task Force unveiled their recommendations for broadband in Minnesota. Highlights include ubiquitous coverage to all parts of Minnesota, a goal to be top five for broadband speed and penetration in the US and the suggested formation of an ongoing entity to support and promote broadband in Minnesota through 2015. http://tinyurl.com/ybyl297 The report made a splash with local press http://tinyurl.com/yzakroo and that splash keeps rippling. http://tinyurl.com/yfzospd
The NTIA/RUS report that they plan to announce successful ARRA grants starting in December; the announcements may happen through February 2010 as decisions are made.http://tinyurl.com/yhs39ld
Broadband and Telehealth
At the Blandin Broadband conference the leaders of Eindhoven talked about broadband as a necessary tool to get services to all citizens and that one such application was telehealth. http://tinyurl.com/yc9cfbw New forms of telehealth are emerging each day, such as the Bluetooth wireless protocol that can provide faster and more reliable patient assessment data transfers between mobile devices, improvements to remote doctor visits for seniors http://tinyurl.com/ye4aut4 and a Minnesota-based medical lab portal where healthcare providers can use guides, worksheets and calculators as well as get remote support interpreting lab results. http://tinyurl.com/ye4aut4
Local Broadband News
Anoka County is pursing a public-private partnership to obtain funding for broadband services. http://tinyurl.com/yj6s9vu
Dakota County creates a video to promote broadband in the area. http://tinyurl.com/yb6p99v
Duluth hosts a walking tour and conversation on local technology jobs at the Blandin broadband conference. http://tinyurl.com/yfvlzzk
Itasca County plans to leverage its 800 Mhz public safety network investment to improve local broadband services. http://tinyurl.com/ykxvb6n
Lake County News-Chronicle champions Minnesota as a possible national leader in rural broadband. http://tinyurl.com/yjxtae3
Clear Wireless is expanding its wireless network to Savage. http://tinyurl.com/yhagtlu
St Louis & Lake County
Saint Louis County Board approved financial support for the Lake County Fiber Network to expand into the northeastern portions of Saint Louis County. http://tinyurl.com/ylxcqs4
Success comes easier with good partners. In my mind, good partners are committed to achieving shared goals and are willing to invest time and energy today for long term benefits. The state broadband task force emphasizes community-provider partnerships in market development strategies; this is an approach that the Blandin Foundation’s Get Broadband Program spurred in more than 25 rural communities with documented success.
Provider engagement in these initiatives was uneven. In some communities, providers were actively engaged as partners – serving on steering teams, sponsoring training programs and lending their technology expertise to teams of community leaders. Both community and provider benefitted from the partnership. In other places, despite active invitations from the community, providers were no-shows and the initiatives suffered as a result due to less knowledge of services, missed sales opportunities and fewer resources.
Use the state task force report as leverage to get your providers engaged in your community broadband initiatives. For best results, be specific in your requests to your providers. Ask them to attend a community meeting to discuss what current services are available and about future plans to upgrade services. Ask them to serve on a technology task force. Ask them to sponsor e-commerce training for small and medium size businesses, computer reuse programs for senior citizens or low-income families or an after school program for students interested in IT careers.
We would like to collect stories of the role that your providers play in your community. Which companies are active and helpful in your initiatives? Which companies are no-shows? Send your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org