New FirstNet Cell Site Primarily Powered by Solar Launches on Echo Trail to Support First Responders in Northern Minnesota

Big news in Ely from AT&T…

What’s the news? Northern Minnesota’s first responders are getting a major boost in their wireless communications thanks to the FirstNet® network expansion currently underway by AT&T. We’ve added a new, purpose-built cell site located on the Echo Trail northwest of Ely near Meander Lake and Lake Jeanette State Forest – one of the first primarily powered by solar in the Midwest region.

This FirstNet site will provide coverage when traveling along the Echo Trail, located in the remote wilderness of northeastern Minnesota. It will also give first responders on FirstNet – America’s public safety network – access to always-on, 24-hours-a-day priority and preemption across voice and data.

This site, which launched May 18, has already provided coverage to first responders who battled the Bezhik Fire – a wildfire that began May 17 near Bezhik Lake, spread north to Moose Loop Road, and burned 782 acres just a few miles south of the new tower.

Why is this important? We look at FirstNet as the most important wireless network in the country because it’s serving our first responders. And unlike commercial networks, FirstNet provides dedicated mobile broadband. To ensure AT&T and the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) are putting coverage and capacity where first responders need it most, the FirstNet build is being done with direct feedback from state and public safety officials. This helps ensure Minnesota first responders connect to the critical information they need – every day and in every emergency. Other FirstNet sites already launched in Minnesota communities include Bagley, Blackduck, Cloquet, Finlayson, Graceville, Grygla, Hovland, Isabella, Lewiston and Williams.

What are the benefits to first responders? Building upon AT&T’s current and planned investments in Minnesota, we’re actively extending the reach of FirstNet to give agencies large and small the reliable, unthrottled connectivity and modern communications tools they need. These sites were constructed using Band 14 spectrum, as well as AT&T commercial spectrum. Band 14 is nationwide, high quality spectrum set aside by the government specifically for FirstNet. We look at Band 14 as public safety’s VIP lane. In an emergency, this band – or lane – can be cleared and locked just for FirstNet subscribers. That means only those on the FirstNet network will be able to access Band 14 spectrum, further elevating their connected experience and emergency response. Band 14 has been added on more than 600 existing sites across Minnesota, including markets such as the Twin Cities, Duluth, Rochester, the Iron Range, St. Cloud and the Brainerd/Baxter area.

How does this help Minnesota residents? This new infrastructure will also help improve the overall coverage experience for AT&T wireless customers in the area. Residents, visitors and businesses can take advantage of the AT&T spectrum bands, as well as Band 14 when capacity is available.

What is FirstNet? FirstNet is the only nationwide, high-speed broadband communications platform dedicated to and purpose-built for America’s first responders and the extended public safety community. Shaped by the vision of Congress and the first responder community following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, FirstNet stands above commercial offerings. It is built with AT&T in public-private partnership with the FirstNet Authority – an independent agency within the federal government. The FirstNet network is providing first responders with truly dedicated coverage and capacity when they need it, unique benefits like always-on priority and preemption, and high-quality Band 14 spectrum. These advanced capabilities enable FirstNet to help fire, EMS, and law enforcement personnel save lives and protect their communities.

What people are saying:

Sheriff Ross Litman

Sheriff, St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office

“For our first responders battling the Bezhik Fire, this new FirstNet tower provided critical wireless coverage necessary for communication in a very remote area where we previously had poor to no coverage. FirstNet is helping give public safety the connectivity they need to communicate and coordinate emergency response efforts, especially in remote wilderness areas of St. Louis County.”

Paul Weirtz 

President, AT&T Minnesota

“Minnesota’s first responders deserve reliable coverage across the state to help them effectively and efficiently address incidents. And with FirstNet, that’s exactly what they’re getting. We’re pleased this new site could provide critical wireless coverage for the courageous fire fighters and first responders who battled and contained the Bezhik Fire near the Echo Trail. We have a responsibility unlike any other network provider, and couldn’t be more pleased to support the public safety mission by bringing first responders – and residents – greater access to the connectivity they need.”

Edward Parkinson

CEO, FirstNet Authority

“FirstNet is a dedicated broadband platform for public safety, by public safety. We worked hand-in-hand with the Minnesota public safety community to understand their needs for the network. And this new site is a prime example of how that input and feedback is becoming reality. We look forward to supporting Minnesota’s first responders’ use of FirstNet to help them save lives and protect our communities.”

Where can I find more information? Go here to learn more about how AT&T is supporting Minnesota. For more about the value FirstNet is bringing to public safety, check out FirstNet.com. And go here for more FirstNet news.

Minnesota State CIO looks at MN broadband tools

Governing covers a presentation from CIOs from Colorado, California and Minnesota about how each state is handling broadband. Tarek Tomes (MN CIO) answered questions about Minnesota.

Which department addresses broadband?

In Minnesota, broadband efforts are housed within the Department of Employment and Economic Development, Tomes explained, given the inextricable link between access to connectivity and the overall economic health of the state. “[Having] broadband in economic development is ideal because the connection between what happens in the economy and broadband access is so intertwined,” he said. Minnesota IT Services, led by Tomes, does run MNET, Minnesota’s Network for Enterprise Telecommunications, a statewide network that provides connectivity for state agencies, localities, schools and health-care institutions .

Is there State investment in broadband?

In Minnesota, Tomes described the “border-to-border grant program.” Established in 2013, Tomes said it has supported more than $120 million in broadband development in the state. He also pointed to Minnesota’s broadband task force as important to taking a big-picture look at what funding opportunities will work best for which part of the state.

New FirstNet Cell Site Launches in Lewiston to Support First Responders

Here’s the latest from AT&T on FirstNet in Lewiston…

What’s the news? Lewiston’s first responders are getting a major boost in their wireless communications thanks to the FirstNet network expansion currently underway by AT&T. We’ve added a new, purpose-built cell site located in Lewiston near the area of Whistle Pass Drive and Rolling Hills Road. This site will provide coverage when traveling along Highway 14 and County Roads 20 and 25 in the Lewiston area. It will also give first responders on FirstNet – America’s public safety network – access to always-on, 24-hours-a-day priority and preemption across voice and data.
Why is this important? We look at FirstNet as the most important wireless network in the country because it’s serving our first responders. And unlike commercial networks, FirstNet provides real, dedicated mobile broadband. To ensure AT&T and the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) are putting coverage and capacity where first responders need it
most, the FirstNet build is being done with direct feedback from state and public safety officials. This helps ensure Minnesota first responders connect to the critical information they need – every day and in every emergency. New FirstNet cell sites in Cloquet and Hovland in
northern Minnesota were also announced today. Other FirstNet sites already launched in Minnesota communities include Bagley, Blackduck, Graceville, Grygla, Isabella, Finlayson, and Williams.
What are the benefits to first responders? Building upon AT&T’s current and planned investments in Minnesota, we’re actively extending the reach of FirstNet to give agencies large and small the reliable, unthrottled connectivity and modern communications tools they need.
These sites were constructed using Band 14 spectrum, as well as AT&T commercial spectrum.
Band 14 is nationwide, high quality spectrum set aside by the government specifically for FirstNet. We look at Band 14 as public safety’s VIP lane. In an emergency, this band – or lane –can be cleared and locked just for FirstNet subscribers. That means only those on the FirstNet
network will be able to access Band 14 spectrum, further elevating their connected experience and emergency response. Band 14 has been added on more than 450 existing sites across Minnesota, including markets such as the Twin Cities, Duluth, Rochester, the Iron Range, St.
Cloud and the Brainerd/Baxter area.

How does this help Lewiston residents? This new infrastructure will also help improve the overall coverage experience for AT&T wireless customers in the Lewiston area. Residents, visitors and businesses can take advantage of the AT&T spectrum bands, as well as Band 14 when additional capacity is available.

New FirstNet Cell Sites Launch in Northeastern Minnesota to Support First Responders

Here’s the latest from AT&T on FirstNet in Northeastern MN (near Cloquet and Hovland)…

What’s the news? First responders in northeastern Minnesota are getting a major boost in their wireless communications thanks to the FirstNet® network expansion currently underway by AT&T*. We’ve added new, purpose-built cell sites located near Cloquet on County Road 3 and in Hovland along the North Shore between Grand Marais and Grand Portage. These sites will
give first responders on FirstNet – America’s public safety network – access to always-on, 24-hours-a-day priority and preemption across voice and data.
Why is this important? We look at FirstNet as the most important wireless network in the country because it’s serving our first responders. And unlike commercial networks, FirstNet provides real, dedicated mobile broadband. To ensure AT&T and the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) are putting coverage and capacity where first responders need it
most, the FirstNet build is being done with direct feedback from state and public safety officials. This helps ensure Minnesota first responders connect to the critical information they need – every day and in every emergency. A new FirstNet cell site near Lewiston in southeastern Minnesota was also announced today. Other FirstNet sites already launched in Minnesota communities include Bagley, Blackduck, Graceville, Grygla, Isabella, Finlayson, and Williams.
What are the benefits to first responders? Building upon AT&T’s current and planned investments in Minnesota, we’re actively extending the reach of FirstNet to give agencies large and small the reliable, unthrottled connectivity and modern communications tools they need.
These sites were constructed using Band 14 spectrum, as well as AT&T commercial spectrum.
Band 14 is nationwide, high quality spectrum set aside by the government specifically for FirstNet. We look at Band 14 as public safety’s VIP lane. In an emergency, this band – or lane –can be cleared and locked just for FirstNet subscribers. That means only those on the FirstNet
network will be able to access Band 14 spectrum, further elevating their connected experience
and emergency response. Band 14 has been added on more than 450 existing sites across Minnesota, including markets such as the Twin Cities, Duluth, Rochester, the Iron Range, St. Cloud and the Brainerd/Baxter area.

How does this help northeastern Minnesota residents? This new infrastructure will also help
improve the overall coverage experience for AT&T wireless customers in northeastern Minnesota near Cloquet and near Hovland along the North Shore. Residents, visitors and businesses can take advantage of the AT&T spectrum bands, as well as Band 14 when capacity is available.

Another reason for ubiquitous broadband: adherence to Open Meeting Laws

The Pine Journal reports

The Barnum School Board was recently found to be in violation of the Minnesota Open Meeting Law under a chapter of the state statute, which does not allow for public bodies to hold in-person meetings while limiting public attendance to electronic monitoring.

This finding, as cited in an April 19 opinion by Minnesota Department of Administration Commissioner Alice Roberts-Davis, has led to new guidance issued by the Minnesota School Board Association regarding meetings during a pandemic.

The new guidance states that school board meetings should either be held in person — without restrictions on public attendance — or held completely virtually.

If everyone had equal access to broadband this would be less of an issue…

Krampf explained that the public has not had equal access to all meetings during the pandemic, citing the lack of broadband internet available in Carlton County.

Last week, the Minnesota Department of Administration issued an advisory opinion to the district, citing violations of the open meeting law by the board on Sept. 22, 2020, Nov. 24, 2020, Jan. 5, 2021, and Jan. 26, 2021.

“The School Board did not comply with the OML when a quorum of the public body held in-person meetings … while the public was limited to remote attendance,” the opinion read.

According to Superintendent Mike McNulty, the decision to livestream meetings was made out of concern for public safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. He explained that the board room is a small space and does not allow for large groups of people to remain socially distanced.

MN Report on Automated Vehicles mentioned 10 year investment in fiber

Transportation Today reports on the Minnesota Gov’s Advisory Council on Connected and Automated Vehicles 2020 annual report…

The Minnesota Governor’s Advisory Council on Connected and Automated Vehicles said in its annual report Monday that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the state was able to move forward toward readiness for Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAV).

Also…

The report noted that the state was able to test new cellular vehicle communications technologies that connect snowplows and avoid collisions by preventing red-light running. Additionally, the Advisory Council completed a 10-year investment plan for fiberoptic cable that will support CAVs and broadband and conducted the nation’s largest CAV survey to determine the attitudes Minnesotans’ have about CAVs.

I was interested in the 10-year investment in fiber so I checked out the report. Here’s what I was able to find…

  • Fiber and broadband: MnDOT, MnIT and Department of Employment and Economic Development are completing a 10-year investment plan for fiber optic that supports CAVs and broadband. The state also met with the private telecommunications industry to understand their broadband expansion goals and learn how to partner in future pilots.
  • Connectivity & Work Zone Safety: The FHWA granted Minnesota funding to test connected vehicle work zone safety applications. With the FCC ruling, the state is also looking into new cellular connected vehicle technologies, including those being piloted in Ramsey County in Roseville. DEED, MnIT and MnDOT are also partnering to deploy fiber and broadband in key areas of the state to advance CAV and rural connectivity goals.

I remember that MnDOT, MnIT and DEED had a broadband commission a few years ago that, as far as I knew, did not have public meetings. I don’t know if they are still around and I think it only included the commissions of each department. I also don’t know much about the 10 year investment in fiber and I wonder why the MN Broadband Task Force doesn’t factor that into the plans to get everyone connected.

OPPORTUNITY: Government Experience Awards Call for Entries

From Center for Digital Government (CDG) …

The Center for Digital Government (CDG) invites nominations for its Government Experience Awards, where we celebrate achievements and learn best practices from U.S. state, counties, cities, and federal agencies. We will recognize entities that have gone beyond simply using the web to radically improve upon the experience of government and are pushing the boundaries of how services are delivered.

Nomination Deadline: Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Overall Experience Awards Nomination Form CLICK HERE
Overall Awards recognize the entire jurisdiction’s citizen/customer experience efforts. All U.S. state, county and city governments (includes townships and villages) may nominate their jurisdictions’ user experience in the overall categories of State Government; County Government, or City Government.

Project Experience Awards Nomination Form CLICK HERE

Project Awards recognize single-focus areas which may include more than one method of engagement such as mobile, web and social media, etc.
U.S. state and local governments, their individual agencies/departments, and U.S. federal agencies/departments may nominate their projects for the Project Experience Awards. A government may submit nominations for both the Overall award and for more than one project (nominate each project separately). The nominator/primary respondent must be a government official or staff.

A government may submit nominations for both the Overall award and for more than one project (nominate each project separately). The nominator/primary respondent must be a government official or staff.

FAQs: Use the Frequently Asked Questions to access both contests and the downloadable Word copy of the nomination form; and for more information including full input instructions.

Awards Event Sept. 15: Top government jurisdictions, agencies and departments will be featured in a virtual Experience Academy and will be honored at a high-energy, celebratory virtual awards. Winners will be featured in Government Technology and other publications.

CDG thanks our corporate members Accenture, Adobe, Amazon Web Services, Crown Castle, Dell Technologies, EasyVote, HP Inc., Infor, McAfee, Medallia, Microsoft, NIC, Oracle, Pure Storage, ServiceNow, SHI, Spectrum Enterprise, Team Dynamics, Verizon Enterprise Solutions, and Yubico.

If you have any questions, please contact Janet Grenslitt, Director of Surveys and Awards, jgrenslitt@centerdigitalgov.com.

Blandin Broadband Lunch Smart Cities & Broadband Day on the Hill video and notes

Oh what a day, MN Broadband Day on the Hill, Lunch Bunch and a Senate meeting starting in 15 minutes. So my notes are brief.

We celebrated the Day on the Hill with many of the participants who joined us immediately after. Folks in the lunch bunch who were not at the Day on the Hill has questions about policies (or grant stipulations) that might consider affordability and access (skills to use and get) to broadband as well as availability. The grants do consider access but it was fun to think about how that could happen more. We talked a bit about national activities. Then we heard from the folks at Smart North about what makes a smart city and how does one getting started.

Lot of questions on starting with street lights. For example, in a rural are where moving to smart street lights won’t save a huge amount of money – does it still make sense? It does because with smart lights you can “value stack” other features like the ability to adjust the light or use the light pole as a wifi (or even 5G) hub. We even touched upon these being the building blocks to get to autonomous vehicles. A few of us kept on the call and one attendee (David Asp) that we might start calling smart technology “how to use technology to make life easier” maybe to make it sounds easier.

Here’s the original description of the sessions:

Join to talk about smart tactics for cities, suburbs and town. I’m excited to have a few experts from Smart North join us.  Smart North is a coalition of public, private, civic, education, and entrepreneurial individuals and organizations looking to drive Smart City initiatives throughout Minnesota. (They are looking for partners, especially in rural areas!)

A few weeks ago, I got a chance to talk to founders Sabina Saksena (CytiLife), Ben Wallace (Minify Energy) and Thomas Fisher (U of M School of Architecture College of Design). You can watch the video for a quick take on what they do – from autonomous cars, big data and energy!

Also Wednesday is Broadband Day on the Hill, which ends just as we start. I’m hoping/expecting a few of folks to hop on over to let us how it went and maybe we can celebrate lifting broadband in the eyes of the legislature.

And you can view the chat: Continue reading

Telecom bill introduced in MN House: HF2215 911 funds for creating GIS

According to MN House Chief Clerk’s Office on March 15…

Edelson introduced:

HF. 2215,A bill for an act relating to public safety; directing that unspent funds in the 911 emergency telecommunications service account be used for grants to counties to design, develop, implement, operate, and maintain the geographic information system; appropriating money; amending Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 403.11, subdivision 1.

The bill was read for the first time and referred to the Committee on Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance and Policy.

Here is the full bill

A bill for an act
relating to public safety; directing that unspent funds in the 911 emergency
telecommunications service account be used for grants to counties to design,
develop, implement, operate, and maintain the geographic information system;
appropriating money; amending Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 403.11,
subdivision 1.

Continue reading

OPPORTUNITY: Minnesota COVID-19 Vaccine Connector – sign up to get on the list

The State of Minnesota has just unveiled the COVID-19 Vaccine Connector. It’s a portal to get people connected to get their COVID vaccines. Here’s the gist ( from the flier)…

The Minnesota COVID-19 Vaccine Connector is a tool that helps you find out when, where, and how to get your COVID-19 vaccine. Insurance and identification are not needed, and signing up is free. When you become eligible to get the vaccine, the Vaccine Connector will:

let you know you are eligible.

connect you to resources to schedule a vaccine appointment.

notify you if there are vaccine opportunities in your area.

How do I sign up?

Signing up for the Vaccine Connector is easy, safe, and secure. All Minnesotans should sign up, regardless of whether they are currently eligible to get vaccinated.

Online Sign up at: mn.gov/vaccineconnector

By Phone: Translation is available. If you are unable to sign up online, you can sign up over the phone. Translation is available by phone in all languages. Call: 651-318-0989 or 833-431-2053

I just signed up. It didn’t take five minutes and there was nothing I needed to look up.

This is another example of the importance of broadband, a device and the skills to use it! Someone could make a trip to friend’s house or public kiosk to get signed up – although not encouraged during a pandemic. But more than a barrier to signing up; lack of access will hinder the ability to get and receive notices.

One of the questions asks if you would be able to respond quickly if an opportunity arose – inherent in the question is do you have the technology to respond.

FirstNet Network Expands Across Minnesota to Beltrami, Lake, Pine and Lake of the Woods Counties

AT&T reports

Minnesota’s first responders are getting a major boost in their wireless communications with the addition of new, purpose-built FirstNet cell sites and other network enhancements. This new infrastructure is part of the FirstNet network expansion taking place across the state, bringing increased coverage, capacity and capabilities for public safety.

The five new sites – located across northern Minnesota in the counties of Beltrami, Lake, Pine and Lake of the Woods – are part of the FirstNet network expansion taking place across the state, bringing increased coverage, capacity and capabilities for public safety. The remote sites located near Blackduck, Grygla, Isabella, Finlayson and Williams Counties were identified by state and public safety stakeholders as priority locations for increased network coverage and capacity to better support emergency communications.

“Minnesota’s first responders deserve reliable coverage across the state to help them effectively and efficiently address incidents. And with FirstNet, that’s exactly what they’re getting,” said Paul, Weirtz, president, AT&T Minnesota. “We couldn’t be more proud to support the public safety mission and bring the state’s first responders – and residents – greater access to the connectivity they need to do their jobs. Working with public safety, we’ve made FirstNet nimble, adaptable and ready to scale for even the most severe situations as we’re seeing currently with COVID-19.”

FirstNet is the only nationwide, high-speed broadband communications platform dedicated to and purpose-built for America’s first responders and the extended public safety community. It’s built with AT&T* in a public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) – an independent agency within the federal government.

That’s why AT&T has a responsibility unlike any other network provider. And unlike commercial networks, FirstNet provides real, dedicated mobile broadband when needed with always-on priority and preemption for first responders. This helps ensure Minnesota first responders connect to the critical information they need – every day and in every emergency.

Building upon AT&T’s current and planned investments in Minnesota, we’re actively extending the reach of FirstNet to give agencies large and small the reliable connectivity and modern communications tools they need. Currently well ahead of schedule, the FirstNet build has already brought Minnesota first responders:

  • Purpose-built network enhancements New FirstNet cell sites in Minnesota – located near Zerkel and Graceville – have also launched. These sites were identified by state and public safety stakeholders as priority locations. With FirstNet, it’s about where first responders need connectivity. That’s what is driving our FirstNet build. These sites were constructed using Band 14 spectrum, as well as AT&T commercial spectrum. Band 14 is nationwide, high quality spectrum set aside by the government specifically for FirstNet. Band 14 has also been added on more than 450 existing sites across Minnesota as part of the initial FirstNet build, including markets such as the Twin Cities, Duluth, Rochester, the Iron Range, St. Cloud and the Baxter/Brainerd area.
  • Reaching Rural Minnesota – FirstNet is built for all public safety. That means everyfirst responder in the country – career or volunteer; federal, tribal, state or local; urban, suburban or rural. That’s why connecting remote parts of America is one of our top priorities. We’re collaborating with rural network providers to help build out additional LTE coverage and extend FirstNet’s reach in rural and tribal communities.
  • Public safety-specific advanced capabilities – FirstNet is the only nationwide platform that gives first responders entire communication ecosystem of unique benefits including mission-centric devices, certified applications and always-on, 24-hours-a-day priority and preemption across voice and data. This is like giving public safety communications the “lights and sirens” treatment so that they stay connected, no matter the emergency.
  • Unparalleled emergency support – Minnesota agencies on FirstNet also have 24/7 access to a nationwide fleet of 76 land-based and airborne deployable network assets. These portable cell sites can either be deployed for planned events or in emergenciesat no additional charge. FirstNet Response Operations – led by a group of former first responders – guides the deployment of the FirstNet deployable assets based on the needs of public safety.
  • Free smartphones for life for public safety agencies – We’ve also expanded the benefits of FirstNet for Minnesota agencies – spanning law enforcement, fire, EMS, healthcare, hospital emergency departments, emergency management and 9-1-1 operations. Now, they can stay up-to-date with free smartphones for lifeat no additional cost on their FirstNet Mobile—Unlimited plans.1 This means first responders across agencies of all sizes will have affordable access to their network for decades to come.

The COVID-19 health crisis illustrates precisely why public safety fought for the creation of FirstNet. Where public safety goes, we go. We’ve answered the call for tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, floods and other natural disasters. But with COVID-19, it is like experiencing a perpetual emergency in every community across the country. Public safety’s network is being tested in a completely new way, and it’s hitting the mark.

“FirstNet is a dedicated broadband platform for public safety, by public safety,” said FirstNet Authority CEO Edward Parkinson. “We worked hand-in-hand with Minnesota’s public safety community to understand their needs for the network. And these network enhancements are a prime example of how that input and feedback is becoming reality. We look forward to supporting Minnesota’s first responders’ use of FirstNet to help them save lives and protect communities.”

In addition to further elevating public safety’s connected experience in support of their emergency response, this new infrastructure will also help improve the overall coverage experience for AT&T wireless customers in the area. Residents, visitors and businesses can take advantage of the AT&T spectrum bands, as well as Band 14 when additional capacity is available.

For more about the value FirstNet is bringing to public safety, check out FirstNet.com.

Social media being used to identify individuals at US Capitol on Jan 6

Input Magazine reports on an innovative use of social media…

An Instagram account entitled @homegrownterrorists has been set up to identify and track those involved in yesterday’s armed riot that escalated into an attempted coup at the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, DC. The account has amassed more than 8,000 followers by the time of writing and has created more than 100 posts.

It’s unclear who, exactly, is running the account, which appears to have been created not long after yesterday’s riots began. Most of the page’s posts follow a simple formula: a few photographs of someone present at yesterday’s activities along with a caption pleading for any information at all about the person’s identity. There is also a Cash App link in the account’s bio section, though it includes no identifying information or instructions.

The account has, in its brief existence, already managed to identify a number of those present at the riots. But it’s unclear whether this crowdsourced sleuthing has the potential to provide actual accountability for the crimes committed on January 6 at the Capitol.

Also on Twitter.

AT&T to build FirstNet tower in Cook County

Minneapolis Star Tribune reports…

The Cook County Board on Tuesday approved a lease agreement allowing AT&T to build a tower on public land, a decision that sparked controversy among locals and visitors who prefer the region remain off the grid.

Rena Rogers, Cook County’s management information systems director, said the cellphone provider asked to construct a tower near Gunflint Lake so that first responders can access the company’s FirstNet service. Members of the public will also receive regular service. …

The tower will also have room to hold three service providers, should competitors like Verizon or T-Mobile want to venture Up North. Currently, service stops about halfway up the Gunflint Trail.

It was interesting to hear the importance places on the aesthetics of the tower…

“We’re trying really hard to find a balance between service and minimizing impact,” Rogers said.

The new structure will be less than 200 feet tall and built near an existing radio tower “to protect the view shed,” she said. It will not be lit at night to protect the area’s night skies — an asset increasingly used to promote regional tourism.

I understand the conundrum but I don’t hear a “con” for technology deployment now the way I used to years ago. But it’s nice to know that they are thinking about all sides.

Stop the spread of COVID – there’s an app for that

Governor Walz just announced a new app (COVID Aware MN) that is designed to stop the spread of COVID . Here’s how it works…

COVIDaware MN uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology to notify you if you have been exposed to COVID-19, so you can reduce the risk of infection for your friends, family, and neighbors, and help Minnesota slow the spread.

They offer a 5-step process…

  1. Step 1. Download the free COVIDaware MN app.
  2. Step 2. Your phone remembers other devices it meets, but won’t identify you to anyone.
  3. Step 3. Your privacy is protected. No information that will identify you will ever leave your phone.
  4. Step 4. The app checks for positive COVID-19 cases every day.
  5. Step 5. The app will notify you if you may have been exposed to the coronavirus.

This matched with the increased access of testing and accelerated return of testing, seems like this is a tool that can help.

EVENT Oct 8: Smart City Futures (online)

Want to learn more about the Smart Cities Movement? You can check out Smart City Futures. It’s an online conference that will look at the following:

  • Public-private collaboration to maintain and rebuild our cities.
  • How data, innovation and technology can make American cities more resilient.
  • How to build broad access to digital infrastructure that creates more opportunity for every American and keeps America competitive.
  • Why the smart cities movement has only just begun — and how you can benefit.
  • How cities, utility operators and companies are sharing, integrating and governing data to improve the quality of life of urban residents.
  • Securing the smart city: essential tools and practices for safety and cybersecurity.
  • How to ensure America regains a global lead in building the 5G networks that are essential to future geopolitical and industrial competitiveness.

First date is Oct 8 (which overlaps with the MN Broadband 2020) but there are other dates coming up on Nov 12 and Dec 3.