Blandin Broadband Leadership Webinar Series Overview Archive

Thanks to the presenters and attendees for joining the inaugural Blandin Broadband Leadership Webinar. Here we have the video archive, slides when available and chat transcript…

And chat Continue reading

EVENT Mar 31: Blandin Broadband Leadership Webinar Series Overview

As the need for better broadband everywhere becomes more evident every day, are you – as an elected official, government staff or concerned citizen – wondering how to get your community or county on the right path to fixing the problem?  Would you like a better understanding of how to organize your area, select the right technology, attract the right project partners and obtain the necessary project, including grants, funding?  The Blandin Broadband Leadership Webinar Series is for you.

The first of ten webinars over the next five weeks is March 31 at 9 a.m. CDT.  Join Bernadine Joselyn, Blandin’s Director of Public Policy and Engagement, Angie Dickison of MN DEED’s Office of Broadband Development and Bill Coleman of Community Technology Advisors as they share their expertise on community broadband development.

  • Bernadine will discuss the critical role for community leaders in addressing broadband shortcomings in their communities and Blandin’s commitment to helping leaders navigate this challenge.
  • Angie will encourage participants to become active in developing and supporting applications to the state’s Border to Border Broadband grant program and provide examples where community involvement, in partnership with private sector providers, has made a positive difference in project funding decisions.
  • Bill will step participants through the Community Broadband Development Process and showcase how the webinars will provide a start-to-finish guide to developing community consensus, broadband partnerships and successful project applications.

Click here to complete the week one pre-webinar survey. Your responses will help inform the presentations and kick-off the Q&A.

Webinar Handouts
– The Broadband Development Process
– Worksheets
– Community Broadband Infrastructure and Services Assessment Tool

Join us by clicking here:  Pre-registration is not required.

Blandin Webinars This Tues & Thurs: Creating Successful Broadband Infrastructure Projects

I’m sharing an email from the Blandin Foundation highlighting two webinars happening this week (Tues & Thurs)…

The Blandin Community Broadband Program invites you to join us Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:00 am for the five-week Broadband Leadership Webinar Series: Creating Successful Broadband Projects. This week’s webinars are:

  • March 31 – Series Overview; A review of the entire broadband development process*. Join at
    • Bernadine Joselyn, Blandin Foundation
    • Angie Dickison, Minnesota Office of Broadband Development
    • Bill Coleman, Community Technology Advisors
  • April 2 – Setting the Vision; The hows and whys of developing a community broadband vision to engage community leaders, citizens, and broadband providers. Join at
    • Bernadine Joselyn, Blandin Foundation
    • Rich Sve, Lake County
    • Mark Erickson, Community Visionary
    • Elizabeth Olivanti, NE MN Small Business Development Center
    • Bill Coleman, Community Technology Advisors

We appreciate your input! Please click here to complete the week one pre-webinar survey. Your responses will help inform the presentations and kick-off the Q&A.

*Week one webinar handouts:

Last week’s special webinar, Broadband and Education in the Time of Coronavirus is available for viewing at

If you are unable to join us in real-time, all webinars will be recorded and posted to the Blandin on Broadband blog and to our website.

For more information, or to share ideas for future webinars, contact Mary Magnuson at

How to quickly deploy free WiFi – from CTC Technology & Energy

As we settle into social distancing IRL (in real life), communities may want to find ways to help make online social interaction easier by setting up wifi hubs where broadband is otherwise limited or not affordable – like a manufactured home park, campus or any multi-dwelling buildings. Here are some great instructions from CTC Technology & Energy…

This approach needs to be customized for each building but would include the same key elements.

1: Ensure there is adequate backhaul to the building. A range of technologies can perform this task. If the building has municipal- or county-owned fiber, this is simply a matter of configuring sufficient capacity. If fiber is absent but reaches a nearby building, and you have line of sight to that building, mmWave, 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, or other wireless technology can enable backhaul using a mast-mounted or building-mounted antenna.  (If you don’t have line of sight, 900 MHz equipment can serve the same function.) Failing these options, seek commercial service—preferably over fiber.

2: Install Wi-Fi hotspots. These should be installed in hallways, mounted on ceilings or walls (ideally in false ceilings or crawl spaces), with as much density as possible.  The ideal outcome is that no more than 25 feet or one wall separates user from the access point and there are no more than eight users simultaneously using each access point. You will want to interconnect each access point using a single Cat 5/6/7 cable to a power-over-ethernet switch with a 1000 Mbps port. A good practice in a high-rise is to have a switch on each floor and connect each floor’s switch to a building switch located in the basement or on the rooftop that connects to the backhaul service. Where appropriate, consider wireless mesh technologies so as to reduce the amount of cabling.

3: Connect users to the network. You want members of the public to easily connect to the network. Generally, this is a simple matter. Most people own some form of Wi-Fi enabled device, even if they can’t afford ongoing carrier service. Students may have received devices from their schools. What remains is to provide instructions for connecting:  usually just an SSID and a password. For others who are using city-, county-, or school-provided equipment, ideally this equipment is preconfigured with the needed applications (including remote management) and browser links and instruction screens in the appropriate language. You may also need to lock down equipment to protect against inadvertent or deliberate tampering with the operating system or other components that could compromise the network.

4: Set up user supportYour residents may need a moderate level of technical support. In ideal circumstances, a handful of people at a building or development who have basic technological skills can assist clients or neighbors if they get stuck—using text-messaging or voice calls if needed to enforce social distancing. Additionally, municipal or county staff—or volunteers from local schools or technology companies—could also assist from call centers.

5: Set policies to lessen the risk of network congestion. Gaming and interactive video use considerable bandwidth that may slow your network and limit use for critical needs during this crisis. If a locality wants to control use of its devices or its network (for example, to avoid slowdowns and bottlenecks in the building networks), it may consider blocking or limiting some content or applications on those devices, or within its network. This can be done in the network configuration or the device configuration. (Some applications used for teleworking, such as Zoom, should be whitelisted.)

Please don’t hesitate to let us know if we can help you think through these strategies. 


EVENT: Broadband Leadership Webinar Series: Creating Successful Broadband Infrastructure Projects

A message from the Broadband Team at Blandin Foundation…

The coronavirus pandemic has made it clear that access to broadband is necessary for everyone. Communities cannot merely hope that a comprehensive broadband solution will be delivered to their doorsteps; local leaders must take an active role to ensure their community’s long-term broadband needs are met — that broadband is an asset, not a constraint.

To help, Blandin Foundation is offering a new Broadband Leadership Webinar Series: Creating Successful Broadband Projects. Webinars will be offered every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 9:00 am beginning March 31, and will run for five weeks. Sessions will be recorded and posted to our website and the Blandin on Broadband blog for ongoing access. Registration is not required. Simply click the link to join the webinar.

Participants will learn about broadband infrastructure project planning best practices and tips for partnering effectively with ISPs and units of government, working with broadband consultants, and successfully applying for public funds.

  • March 31
    Series Overview
    A review of the entire broadband development process.
  • April 2
    Setting the Vision
    The hows and whys of developing a shared community broadband vision to engage community leaders, citizens, and broadband provider partners.
  • April 7
    Broadband 101
    An introduction to various broadband technologies highlighting capabilities, liabilities, and comparative costs of each.
  • April 9
    Community Broadband Surveys
    An overview of broadband surveys including a comparison of random sample surveys and canvassing techniques, key questions, the importance of GIS mapping technology, and data ownership considerations.
  • April 14
    Broadband Mapping
    An introduction to broadband mapping data sources, with demonstration of various GIS capabilities for data display and grant eligibility determination. Strategies for challenging broadband map data will be discussed.
  • April 16
    Ownership Models and Provider Partnerships
    An overview of models concerning network ownership and operations providing options for working with existing and prospective partners.
  • April 21 Feasibility Studies
    Presentation and discussion of the key elements of broadband feasibility study design, implementation, and use; including tips on selecting a consultant.
  • April 23
    Federal and State Broadband Finance Programs
    An overview of existing and emerging broadband finance programs.
  • April 28
    Local Broadband Finance Options
    An introduction to the finance tools available to cities, counties, and towns to assist in broadband development.
  • April 30
    Making it Happen: Determining your Community’s Best Option
    Strategies for success.

Midco’s plan for fixed wireless in Yellow Medicine County

I’ve been looping back with counties to see how things are going with local broadband. Yellow Medicine County had a whole PowerPoint presentation to share.

As you may recall, Yellow Medicine was ranked 78 out of 87 for ubiquitous access to 2026 speed goal speeds of 100/20. But in 2016, Midco got a grant to build better broadband from Canby to Marshall. Midco also has CAF funding to help build out fixed wireless – in fact they have $2.3 million for Yellow Medicine.

According to the slides, Midco is already serving Canby. The long haul fiber from St Joseph to Canby was expected to be completed Fall 2019. And they are proposing 10 vertical assets from which to provide fixed wireless: 5 assets in the county and 5 outside the county that will serve the county.

Sherburne County – installing conduit and becoming Telecommuter Forward

I’ve been looping back with counties to see how things are going. Great to get an update from Sherburne County

In the past few years, the Sherburne County Public Works Department has been installing conduit in strategic areas throughout the county as part of several road projects that are included within our 5-year county road improvement plan. The County’s goal in installing this conduit infrastructure is to “dig once” and facilitate the expansion of broadband service for County residents, businesses, institutions and public facilities.

An RFP for the fiber optic conduit was released in 2018 and Arvig was awarded the contract to fill several portions of the conduit. The County has continued to install additional conduit since that time and we hope to work with additional providers to improve the broadband service throughout the County over the next several years.

The County has also recently been accepted into DEED’s Telecommuter Forward program and we look forward to working with DEED’s staff to promote telecommuting options to our residents and business owners.

I look forward to hearing more about the Telecommuter Forward program as that gets off the ground.