Strut Your Stuff Broadband Tour Chisholm MN: Back of the bus view of rural broadband

Today I got to bus ride around Chisholm. The video is horrible – because I was on a school bus! But when you can hear the stories – it’s absolutely worth it to listen to what life without broadband is like for local citizens and how they are working to make the broadband situation better for everyone.

And my notes… Continue reading

Want to learn all about Ely – including broadband? Check out MPR on July 13

Yesterday I woke up and had a lovely walk in the fields of Luverne and visited a livestock operation. (To be fair looks beautiful, smells strongly.) I ended my day back in St Paul with a little minor league baseball and a walk home past the majestic St Paul Cathedral. BUT most folks don’t get to see so many side of Minnesota that way. So I’m thrilled that MPR (MN Public Radio) is featuring a day in Ely on July 13. It’s a good chance to remember that Minnesota isn’t only your own backyard.

They are planning a live broadcast on Thursday, July 13 (11 am to 1 pm) from Whiteside Park in Ely – followed by broadcasts from our Classical service and The Current. It’s a good chance for anyone with a radio to learn about one corner of the state and I happen to know broadband is on their short list of topics to discuss. (Hope that wasn’t a secret!)

Careful readers may remember that Ely is part of the IRBC project. With support and guidance from Blandin and IRRR, the community is working on ways to better use broadband in the area. It’s been a great way to unite a community that doesn’t always see eye to eye with their neighbors.

Want to learn more? Set your dial to MPR on July 13!

Ely enthusiastically pursues Blandin Broadband opportunity

The Blandin foundation is working with the IRRRB to select four communities in the IRRRB area to focus on improving broadband.

According to the Ely Echo, Ely is striving to be one of those four…

Numerous area entities, ranging from the Ely School District and Morse Township to Vermilion Community College, have endorsed Ely’s efforts to become one of a handful of regional communities to obtain Blandin funding.

Fedo talked of a set-up in which the city of Ely could take the lead, perhaps in accord with a private partner who could use the city utility and provide the service.

It’s a proactive approach, said Fedo, “rather than waiting for somebody to propose a solution on our behalf.”

Fedo indicated a successful application could lead to “some sort of providing service within the downtown corridor” within six-to-12 months.

Mayor Chuck Novak strongly endorsed the effort, noting his own involvement in various efforts to bring broadband to Ely, including a fiber-to-the-premise initiative that was squelched several years ago after other participating communities dropped out.

“I actually have some hope now,” said Novak.

It’s interesting to hear the strong and widespread desire for the community to “take the lead” in their broadband future. They seem interested in a private partner but that idea of being part of the decision-making is strong.