Here’s the news from our latest newsletter. It’s mostly a compilation of Minnesota-related stories from the blog in the last month – but sometimes it’s nice to have it compiled.
The NTIA/RUS received 2,200 applications requesting $28 billion in response to the broadband stimulus NOFA. http://tinyurl.com/la98sv Specifics on the applications should be published in the upcoming weeks. Reviewers have begun to look at the applications. You can follow the review process on the blog of the BTOP Reviewer. http://tinyurl.com/mv8ykp
Broadband Task Force in Fergus Falls
The Ultra High-Speed Broadband Task Force met in Fergus Falls in August. http://tinyurl.com/nk75mu They talked about speed, symmetry, policies and actions required to achieve ubiquitous broadband, role of government, public and private partnerships and costs. They heard from community members, many of whom had attended Blandin’s Broadband Policy Seminar held the day before. http://tinyurl.com/nktvv5 The audio from the Task Force meeting is available online. http://tinyurl.com/l45hfd
Research on Rural Broadband
The USDA released a report that found that rural communities with better broadband access had greater economic growth than areas with less access. http://tinyurl.com/mp2ybe
Rural Hospitals Stuck
Rural hospitals are being asked to move to electronic medical records. That will cost money. There is some federal funding available; unfortunately to qualify for that funding the hospitals are expected to do preparation but that preparation has not been specified – leaving the hospitals in a difficult position. http://tinyurl.com/kqv99c
Go for the Gig
Mark Ansboury, from the Knight Center of Digital Excellence makes the case for creating a National Broadband Policy that promote gigabit Internet speeds for all. http://tinyurl.com/mnjsm9
Local Broadband News
Thanks to funding from the Blandin Foundation, the City of Adrian has been able to successfully install a telepharmacy solution to meet the needs of the local community. http://tinyurl.com/ndkv3h
Citilink Communications (based out of Apple Valley, MN) has built the first WiMAX wireless network in Minnesota. http://tinyurl.com/mxmfmq
Paul Bunyan Telephone is highlighted by Ars Technica in an article praising the work of forwarding-thinking local broadband providers. http://tinyurl.com/nn8r7j
Hazeltine Golf Course installed 26 hi-speed T1 fiber optic data lines, 50 DSL Internet lines and 29 ISDN lines for radio in preparation for broadcasting the PGA Major Tournament in August. http://tinyurl.com/l79qgs
Frontier Communications is providing free Wi-Fi at the Dakota County Fair. http://tinyurl.com/mhdj5v
A Fergus Falls Daily Journal editorial recognizes that residents as close as 12 miles from a community as large as Fergus Falls are only able to receive Internet access through a dial-up connection. http://tinyurl.com/ltubb5
Jackson, Cottonwood and Nobles Counties
The SouthWest Minnesota Broadband Group (SWMBG) is planning to expand the reach of FTTP in portions of Jackson, Cottonwood and Nobles County. http://tinyurl.com/nz8tbz
After garnering support from local communities, Lake County moves forward with plans for a fiber network. http://tinyurl.com/nbxlrp In fact they just released a Design/Build RFP for its FTTP network. http://tinyurl.com/na2p69
The Moorhead Public Service Commission approved the sale of its GoMoorhead broadband operation 702 Communications for $1.2 million. http://tinyurl.com/mfzg4w
An editorial in the local paper asks, are we disqualifying an entire population because of Internet access? http://tinyurl.com/nvtljg
The first stimulus grants have been submitted and now applicants are waiting to hear whether they made the first cut in the review process. Those who do will need to respond to requests for more information about their projects. As someone who worked on two projects, I have to ask myself what more they could possibly want to know?! The stimulus application required submittal of in-depth engineering, financial and marketplace information. Government servers ground to a halt under the deluge of documentation submitted electronically requiring that an extra week be allowed for applications.
While I have not seen a comprehensive list of Minnesota applications yet, I know of several others. It will be interesting to see the full list and analyze the decisions that providers, communities and non-profits made in selecting projects and project partners. It will point to the variety of approaches that might work to increase investment in infrastructure, increase efforts to provide public access and adopt technology in business, government, education and health care.
I have seen several notices about initiatives in other states where the state government has taken the lead to coordinate applications and capitalize on shared investments, thus maximizing the amount of broadband stimulus funds received and benefits obtained from those funds. I wonder why that is not happening here in Minnesota in preparation for the upcoming second and third rounds; it is certainly not too late for that to happen and I hope that it does. I am proud of the effort that Blandin Foundation led to develop and submit an application in the Sustainable Broadband category. We have a solid set of activities and a great set of partners. If funded, there will be a flood of broadband promotion activities that communities and providers can get behind to work together to increase our broadband vitality.
September 2 – Webinar: Getting the Most out of Cloud Storage http://tinyurl.com/npafhh
September 16-17 – NTEN’s Online Nonprofit Technology Conference: Managing Technology to Meet Your Mission http://tinyurl.com/l2leop
September 27 – October 1 – Fiber to the Home Conference & Expo (Houston TX) http://tinyurl.com/n4mjzn
November 12 – Talking Tech: Nonprofit Focused Solutions – Remote Access Methods http://tinyurl.com/mmkd8m
November 18-19 – Blandin Broadband Conference (Duluth MN)
December 10 – Talking Tech: Nonprofit Focused Solutions – Supercharge Your Work With MAPS http://tinyurl.com/ntbjm3