Prioritizing Digital Equity in an Age of Uncertainty #MNBroadband Conference

Prioritizing Digital Equity in an Age of Uncertainty Lisa Peterson-de la Cueva, St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN)-Community Technology Empowerment Project CTEP; Facilitated by Sam Drong
Promoting digital access and inclusion may have never felt more urgent, but achieving digital equity in an increasingly fragile democracy can often feel daunting. Lessons gleaned from the field and from social movements show how we are uniquely positioned to push for change and tell the story of a society in which technology is a tool for equal participation.

By the Numbers: A Workshop on Calculating the ROI of Rural Broadband for Your Community #MNBroadband Conference

In this hands-on session, we will use established formulas to calculate the potential return on public investment in your community.

  • Bernadine Joselyn, Blandin Foundation
  • Ann Treacy, Treacy Information Service
  • ROI Spreadsheet


The Net Benefits of Broadband Adoption: An Empirical Case Study of Rural Indiana #MNBroadband Conference

The Net Benefits of Broadband Adoption: An Empirical Case Study of Rural Indiana Alison Grant, Ph.D. Student, Researcher, & Instructor, Dept of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University
The presentation will provide an overview of a study conducted by Alison Grant, Dr. Wallace Tyner and Dr. Larry DeBoer of Purdue University that outlines and projects the statewide net benefits that could be obtained from installation of rural broadband in all of the areas served by Rural Electric Member Cooperatives (REMC) in the state of Indiana. If such a network were built, about 80 percent of the landmass would be served, and it could provide $12 billion in net present value benefits. From a societal perspective, the rural broadband investment is clearly quite attractive. However, the anticipated revenue from customers would not be adequate to cover the total system costs, so some form of external assistance would be needed to incentivize the investments.

Climbing the Digital Use Ladder: Digital Inclusion, Adoption and Innovation #MNBroadband Conference

There are two essential parts of a broadband plan – having it and using it. This session we’re going to talk about how to use it specifically by hearing from folks around Minnesota who have been creative about getting their community to make better use of broadband. We’ll get demonstrations and stories from a wide range of digital champions.

We will hear from each round of presenters, have time to mingle and ask follow up questions, then reconvene for the following panel.

1:00-2:00 – Digital Inclusion

PCs for People
Madeline Tate
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.

Project FINE
Fatima Said FSaid@Co.Winona.MN.US
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.

Cook Public Library
Crystal Phillips
Cook Public Library allows patrons to checkout mobile hotspots so that patrons can access broadband from home. She will tell us about the program and maybe some other innovative ways they are using broadband especially with teens.

Winona Friendship Center
Malia Fox
The Friendship Center offers remote elder exercise online. Participants can see each other and the instructor for this one of a kind exercise program.

2:15-3:15 – Digital Adoption

Community Technology Empowerment Project
Katie Ward & Gus Leinbach
CTEP AmeriCorps members adopt long-term a technology project in the Twin Cities. They have done research, created portals, developed and deployed programs to get kids and adults to better use technology. Gus and Katie are CTEP members; they will talk about their experience as well as their peers’.

Ely/Hibbing Business Consulting, Entrepreneur Fund
Julie George,
Julie has worked with several BBC (Blandin Broadband Community) initiatives where local businesses have been paired with a consultant to work on digital marketing strategies and improvements – as well as business-focused technology classes.

Women’s March Minnesota
Ann Treacy
Women’s March Minnesota was born of the 2017 national march to action but has developed into a movement, largely based on use of the website, email list and social media. Learn how they are using online tools to encourage people to vote in the 2018 election through a campaign called Power to the Polls.

Boreal Corps
Anne Brataas
Boreal Corps is a program that is using technology to help kids help others to tell stories. Last year participating youth worked with the American Lung Association of MN to do online health messaging to reach their peers in Cook and Lake County about the dangers of vaping. Right now, they are working on a broadband multigenerational history project to unite the community behind a project in bringing a contingency to Uganda for the grand opening of the maternal-child clinic, sending kids text and photos that kids package into effective daily blog posts to keep the community engaged.

3:30 – 4:30 Digital Powerhouses

GigaZone Online Gaming Contest
Brian Bissonette
Paul Bunyan is hosting their 3rd annual GigaZone Gaming Championship on Saturday, October 20 at the Sanford Center in Bemidji. It is the first and largest stadium style eSports event in northern Minnesota and last year over 3,000 in attended.  All the fun is free.  Guests can play in tournaments of Overwatch, Madden 19, Fortnite, Rocket League, Super Smash Brothers, Magic the Gathering, and more for cash and prizes.  There is also open console and arcade gaming throughout and a Cosplay Contest for those who dress up and embrace their inner fantasy character with prizes of up to $200 for the top costume of the weekend.

Chuck Olsen
“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.

Precision Ag
Jake Rieke
Jake is on the board of RS Fiber, which has worked to bring Fiber to the Farm in Renville and Sibley Counties. He is also a farmer who uses improved broadband for precision agriculture applications.

Approaches to Broadband-Based Economic Development #MNBroadband Conference

Broadband is essential to a thriving community – but it is not a panacea and it won’t work in a vacuum. Like a treadmill in the basement, broadband is only helpful when you use it. In this session, panelists from a variety of organizations working to support tech-based economic development strategies will discuss their own efforts, and provide the audience with ideas on how they can engage with their own providers around broadband-fueled economic development.

Facilitated by Danna MacKenzie, MN Office of Broadband Development

  • Gary Johnson, Paul Bunyan Communications
  • Tom Lambrecht, Great River Energy
  • Richard Stuart, TenBelow
  • Brian Zelenak, Mille Lacs Energy Cooperative

Broadband 101: #MNBroadband Conference

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

Facilitated by Bill Coleman, Community Technology Advisors

  • Jason Dale, Cooperative Network Services
  • Doug Dawson, CCG Consulting
  • Diane Kruse, NEO Connect
  • Mark Mrla, Finley Engineering