Oct 8-10 – MN Fall BB Conference – Innovation: Putting Broadband to Work
This three-day conference at the beautiful Grand View Lodge in Nisswa, MN offers learning and engagement on many aspects of the challenges and benefits of broadband access and use, from “Pursuing Broadband 101,” to digital inclusion tools and strategies for diverse audiences. https://wp.me/p3if7-52i
Apply to be on the next MN Broadband Task Force
Applications are now being accepted for 15 open member seats of the newest iteration of the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband. https://wp.me/p3if7-532
A Better Wireless has a Solution for Rural MN
The Benton Foundation posts a column from A Better Wireless, about the need in rural areas (specifically rural Minnesota) for better broadband to create a level playing field for students. https://wp.me/p3if7-52C
Introducing CN QuickStart, a pre-feasibility study tool to help you understand your community broadband options. https://wp.me/p3if7-52q
Thriving by Design Minnesota Equity Blueprint First Release
Growth & Justice releases their first Blueprint Report on Human Capital; it reveals challenges and opportunities, along with dozens of practical solutions that will help realize Minnesota’s full human potential. https://wp.me/p3if7-52j
Minnesotans Winning National Tech Awards
Congrats to Casey Sorenson from PCs for People, featured in the Star Tribune https://wp.me/p3if7-51Q for winning the 2019 Charles Benton Digital Equity Champion. https://wp.me/p3if7-50A And congrats to Brent Christensen, named 2019 Grassroots Advocate of the Year by NTCA. https://wp.me/p3if7-51O
Blandin Foundation Rural Pulse – how do Minnesotans feel?
Every three years, the Blandin Foundation does a scan of how Minnesotans are feeling about the economy, their future and more. This year they surveyed 1,560 people the results are mixed based on where you live and who you are. https://wp.me/p3if7-50u
MN Public Broadband Alliance Meeting
MN Public Broadband Alliance hosted a meeting on broadband with the following topics:
- Partnerships, Where to find Partners, Structures
- Wireless Capabilities/Hybrid Systems
- Grant Overviews
- Financing Options
- Economic Development and Broadband
- Legislative Update and Questions https://wp.me/p3if7-51E
On the Minnesota policy front…
And national policy front…
Local Broadband News
Blue Earth County
Blue Earth County investigates broadband with feasibility study https://wp.me/p3if7-528
Crow Wing County
What do you do when the maps are wrong and you aren’t served? One man in Crow Wing County tells his story. https://wp.me/p3if7-51W
Timberjay suggests that relocating government jobs could significantly boost rural Minnesota economy https://wp.me/p3if7-51e
Lincoln County launches broadband grant application https://wp.me/p3if7-51w
Lyon County promotes app to test broadband speed https://wp.me/p3if7-51S
Marshall, Pipestone and Worthington
Vast Broadband brings Gig access to Marshall, Pipestone and Worthington https://wp.me/p3if7-51c
Much of rural Martin County has better broadband https://wp.me/p3if7-50K
Red Wing Ignite Cup holds a competition and says congrats to winner, Busy Baby https://wp.me/p3if7-51v
St Louis County
Better broadband comes to Side Lake in St Louis County https://wp.me/p3if7-51U
BestBuy sells device to help telehealth patients have better remote exams https://wp.me/p3if7-51M
Upcoming Events and Opportunities
We are looking to add MN broadband-related events to the Blandin on Broadband blog calendar. https://wp.me/P3if7-4yG If you have an event you’d like to add please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Stirring the Pot – by Bill Coleman
Finally, a little nice spring weather happening in Minnesota! It is fun to see trees budding and perennials starting to sprout. On my little estate, it is a lot of work to clear away the debris of late fall and winter and get my gardens ready to thrive. There is that one fleeting moment when I think that once this preparation work is complete, I can sit back all summer long, sip a beverage and just enjoy a beautiful view. The reality is exposed not long after that gardens take tending – pulling weeds, adding some fertilizer, watering thirsty plants and deterring white tail deer. Neglecting any of these tasks leads to even more work and/or disappointing benefits. While some plants will do well no matter how little attention you pay to them – hostas, ferns, coneflowers – many need care and attention to prosper.
The same is true of our broadband and community vitality work. It would be pleasant to think that once a broadband network is in the ground or on the tower that our community work is done. There will be some businesses, teachers, local organizations and health care providers that make immediate and aggressive use of the new connectivity. They will gather and post information online, expand their course offerings or market area, and provide a great illustration of technology opportunities. Unfortunately, there are far too few of these folks.
Many others will greatly enjoy the higher broadband speeds but will not make significant changes without some technology Miracle Grow. Just as it is to our benefit to water and maintain our gardens so that the tender and emergent plans grow and bloom, experience shows that the more delicate and less aggressive plants need care to reach their full potential.
Many of our broadband communities are aggressively sponsoring technology assessments for business and local organizations. This service provides immediate benefits to the participants, from simply claiming their Google place to the more complex task of closing security vulnerabilities. The assessment provides a plan for the user while reducing technology and financial risk and also fear of change. Consider your local tech vendors as your Master Gardeners. Give them an opportunity to show the skills and to market their services within your community. If your area is short on these tech masters, search the surrounding communities and regional centers. Entice them to visit your community, give them a platform to share their expertise and identify ways to make it worth their while to do business in your community. Or contract with staff consultants from the local SBDC.
Another gardening strategy is to split plants and share with neighbors. By spreading your tech assessment and development work across various sectors, the benefits of your work multiply. Highlighting success stories is a great way to spread technology adoption in your community. When one person creates a beautiful boulevard garden, others follow and the entire block becomes a showcase. Smart community economic developers actively tend your community’s garden. You should too. See what grows!