Intro to LightSpeed

Blandin Foundation recently announced grants to four Minnesota organizations through the new LightSpeed program. The program’s purpose is to stimulate the deployment of bandwidth intensive applications that connect local institutions to area resident’s home. I will be keeping a close eye on the grantees and helping to report their progress on the Blandin blog. In addition, you will be hearing from our grantees about their efforts to better serve their communities with big bandwidth tools.

We have two education and two health care applications in the LightSpeed program and four very different applications. Today, I will give you a brief description of each project. Continue reading

LightSpeed Q & A with Bill Coleman

Bill ColemanThanks a million to Bill Coleman for answering a few questions about Blandin Foudnation’s Light Speed program for the blog.

What’s the thinking behind the creation of the LightSpeed program?
In community broadband, it is a mistake to focus only the connectivity provided by a network. Some advocates romanticize instantaneous adoption of advanced technologies throughout the community. In fact, once connectivity is in place, other deployment challenges rise to the top, like specialized equipment, software, and end-user training.

The LightSpeed program provides funding to overcome these challenges and encourages the adoption of new broadband intensive applications, especially in the education and health care areas.

A second reason for the LightSpeed Program is to provide evidence of the value of big bandwidth networks, most notably FTTP networks. Skeptics always ask, “What are you going to do with all of that bandwidth?” LightSpeed grantees will serve as demonstration projects and provide real world answers to those questions.

The Blandin Broadband Strategy Board’s Vision Statement emphasizes both the deployment and the use of ultra high-speed next generation broadband. The LightSpeed Program promotes achievement of the vision by stimulating end-user thinking about what is now possible in their own communities with the local deployment of high-speed networks, especially in partnership with their local telecommunications providers. Continue reading