Northeast Minnesota Regional Broadband Summit Notes and Video

The Northeast Minnesota Regional Broadband Summit happened today and I’ll post on each separately. (There will be eight regional meetings leading up to statewide fall conference Oct 12-14.) There was a huge crowd (100+) and lots of good information:

Agenda included:

Welcome from Duluth Mayor Emily Larson & IRRR Commissioner Mark Phillips

Office of Broadband Development Update – an update from Diane Wells (similar to the one given at previous regional conferences)

ICF Framework and Community Projects with Bernadine Joselyn. Fun to hear about a wide range of projects happening in the area:

  • SBDC Tech Audits (Innovate)
  • Workforce Talent Attraction – Hello Iron Range
  • Koochiching County Coworking Space (Connect/Work/Include)
  • Hibbing HRA Housing Wifi Project (Connect/Include)
  • Local Libraries (Innovate/Include) East Range – STEM Rental

Successful Infrastructure Projects with Whitney Ridlon, at IRRR. Again fun to hear about the projects:

  • French Township
  • Cherry Township
  • Town of Morse
  • Boise Forte Tribal Government
  • Paul Bunyan Communications
  • CTC – Recent and Future Projects
  • Aaniin – Connect. Share. Grow. (Fond du Lac)
  • City of Duluth Update (CONFIRMED)

And then in small groups we got the opportunity to catch up with two Arrowhead projects out of the following

  • IRTB – Casual co-working and welcoming communities (Shawn Herhusky CONFIRMED)
  • IEDC – LaunchMN – Innovate 218 (Kirstie McPherson CONFIRMED)
  • MN Children’s Press – Mapping Litter and Publishing (Anne Braataas CONFIRMED)
  • Northspan – Welcoming Community programming (Amber Lewis CONFIRMED)
  • 100 Rural Women – Coop Publishing Model (Teresa Kittridge CONFIRMED)

EVENT Sep 22: Lunch Bunch: bring a need, tool, topic or advice

Each month the Blandin Foundation hosts two conversation or lunch bunch sessions; on the second Wednesday of the month the focus is Infrastructure and on the fourth the focus is Digital Inclusion and Use.

This Wednesday, September 22, the Digital Inclusion and Use folks will be meeting with a fairly free-form structure. I’m just asking folks to share a need, tool, topic or advice. Often it seems that happens anyways but I wanted to really give folks time to connect. We start at noon – hope to see you there!  Register here.

Broadening Our Broadband West Central Initiative Conference and Notes

It’s been a great day of broadband conversations around the state. Three regional broadband conferences happened today and I’ll post on each separately. (There will be eight regional meetings leading up to statewide fall conference Oct 12-14.)

see video https://vimeo.com/607375381/247c948a57

Run of day:

  • State of the state –  Diane Wells, from Office of Broadband Development gave a high level look at the funding processes in development and a quick mapping demo and resources, especially look at access in the area
  • Three presenters (Todd Johnson, Traverse County, Amy Baldwin, Otter Tail County and Ann Treacy of Blandin on Broadband) will talk about broadband projects on the ground.
  • Lead For Minnesota fellow, Carter Grupp, will introduce himself.
  • Discussion of regional work and issues

Presentations:

South Central & Southeast Regional Broadband Conference Notes & Video

It’s been a great day of broadband conversations around the state. Three regional broadband conferences happened today and I’ll post on each separately. (There will be eight regional meetings leading up to statewide fall conference Oct 12-14.)

There were 40-50 people in attendance. The run of the day:

  • A panel on Mapping the Broadband Challenge looked at broadband maps and data collected by DEED’s Office of Broadband Development, the South East Minnesota League of Municipalities and the Minnesota Broadband Coalition.
  • Two regional initiatives talked about how to advance broadband-fueled economic and community development in the region: Red Wing Ignite and the Le Sueur County Broadband Initiative.
  • Ended with an exercise to prioritize broadband opportunities in this region, and talk about next steps.

Here are the presentations:

And chat from the day. The chat includes attendee introductions but also any resources share or questions… Continue reading

EVENT Sep 16: Regional Broadband Summit

From the Land

A regional broadband summit will be offered as a virtual event 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday.

Conference speakers include representatives from Minnesota Rural Broadband Coalition, Red Wing Ignite and Le Sueur County’s Broadband Initiative. Participants will discuss access and adoption, regional prioritization and how to use American Recovery Act funds for broadband investments.

Register at: https://bit.ly/3AgekKI.

This is a regional event, leading up to the Fall Broadband Conference.

EVENT Sep 22: Broadband Informational Meeting Coming In Wright County

From Wright County

Wright County is in the process of gathering information and public input on improving the county’s broadband capability and part of that process will include a public informational meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 22 in the Wright County Board Room at the Government Center in downtown Buffalo (10 Second St. NW).

The county has contracted with the firm Design Nine out of Blacksburg, Virginia to complete a broadband study which included a public survey that was mailed out to all county residents in August. Jack Maytum, a senior broadband analyst with Design Nine, will be making a presentation of the results and will answer questions residents might have concerning the project.

The goal is to connect the underserved areas of Wright County with high-speed internet. The study will serve as a guide for the implementation of an expanded and improved broadband network and provide strategies to address rural high-speed internet deficiencies. The study will also provide the standards required for the county to seek out funding for state and federal grant programs designed to improve broadband connectivity.

For more information or for those with questions about the process or the informational meeting, contact Wright County Project Administrator Elizabeth Karels at elizabeth.karels@co.wright.mn.us or by calling (763) 684-8604.

 

MN Broadband Task Force Sep Meeting: Education acerbated needs and creative tech solutions during pandemic

Today the MN Broadband Task Force heard from folks who work to help families and children get and use the technology they need – especially in these times of distance and hybrid learning. They also heard from folks involved with Blandin Foundation Accelerate!, a program that supported and recharged some of the least served communities in Minnesota. (Blandin in looking for a new cohort of Accelerate communities!)

Hand outs from the day:

TF Connected MN MN Broadband Task Force_09.15.21 Final
TF MilleLacs slides broadband task force 9.15.21
TF Online Learning Update – 9-2021

10:00 a.m. – 10:10 a.m. Welcome, Task Force Introductions, Attendee Introductions and Approval of Minutes from July 28, 2021 Meeting Continue reading

EVENT Sep 15: MN Broadband Task Force monthly meeting (topic: education)

The meeting is virtual; I plan to attend and will livestream – although the meeting is open to the public and you too can join directly…

Governor’s Task Force on Broadband

September 15, 2021

10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Microsoft Teams meeting

Join on your computer or mobile app

Click here to join the meeting

Join with a video conferencing device

mn@m.webex.com

Video Conference ID: 111 512 968 3

Alternate VTC instructions

10:00 a.m. – 10:10 a.m. Welcome, Task Force Introductions, Attendee Introductions and Approval of Minutes from July 28, 2021 Meeting

10:10 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. Office of Broadband Development Update

10:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. MN Department of Education Online/Distance Learning Presentation
Jeff Plaman, Online and Digital Learning Specialist

10:45 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.  East Central MN Rural Broadband Panel
Heidi Steinmetz, Kanabec County Economic Development Director;
Lezlie Sauter, Pine County Economic Development Coordinator;
Beth Gruber, Mille Lacs Corporate Ventures Director of Planning & Community Engagement

11:15 a.m. – 11:20 a.m. Break

11:20 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Partnership for a ConnectedMN (Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation)
Anne Hoyt Taff, Associate Vice President of Community Impact
Dustin Moretz, Community Initiatives Program Manager

11:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ECMECC Digital Navigator Project
Marc Johnson, ECMECC
Dihanna Fedder, Digital Navigator, Pine City Public Schools

12:00 p.m. – 12:20 p.m.  Subgroup Reports

12:20 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.  Public Comment, Other Business, October Meeting Plans, Wrap-up

EVENT Sep 22: Wright County is looking at better broadband

Patch reports

 

Wright County is in the process of gathering information and public input on improving the county’s broadband capability and part of that process will include a public informational meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 22 in the Wright County Board Room at the Government Center in downtown Buffalo (10 Second St. NW).

The county has contracted with the firm Design Nine out of Blacksburg, Virginia to complete a broadband study which included a public survey that was mailed out to all county residents in August. Jack Maytum, a senior broadband analyst with Design Nine, will be making a presentation of the results and will answer questions residents might have concerning the project.

The goal is to connect the underserved areas of Wright County with high-speed internet. The study will serve as a guide for the implementation of an expanded and improved broadband network and provide strategies to address rural high-speed internet deficiencies. The study will also provide the standards required for the county to seek out funding for state and federal grant programs designed to improve broadband connectivity.

EVENT Sep 16: West Central Initiative’s Broadening Our Broadband

More info from the Perham Focus on West Central Initiative’s Broadening Our Broadband Regional event, which is part of a series of regional events happening before the Fall (online) Broadband Conference…

West Central Initiative will host Broadening Our Broadband, a discussion featuring a panel of rural broadband industry professionals and policy experts, on Thursday, Sept. 16, at 11 a.m. via Zoom.

The panel will focus on imagining new possibilities that come with enhanced broadband access, learning how communities can prepare for potential future funding opportunities and hearing how the region can leverage broadband access to better support students, businesses and communities. You can register for the event at wcif.org/events.

“High-speed internet access is fundamental to vibrant rural communities,” said Anna Wasescha, West Central Initiative president. “It supports economic development, high-quality health care, equitable education, and more. Broadband discussions … are particularly important in helping to form our region’s long-term, comprehensive broadband implementation strategy. Broadband is no longer a want—it’s a need.”

The panel will feature:

  • Bernadine Joselyn, director of public policy and engagement at Blandin Foundation;
  • Greg Wagner, director of business and economic development at West Central Initiative;
  • Diane Wells, deputy director of the Office of Broadband Development at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development;
  • Amy Baldwin, community development director for Otter Tail County;
  • Todd Johnson, Traverse County Commissioner;
  • Ann Treacy, owner and founder of Treacy Information Services and researcher and contributor to the Blandin on Broadband blog

EVENT Sep 18: National Day of Civic Hacking

An invitation from the Code for America Team…

Whether you’ve attended one Code for America Brigade meetup, or you’re a regular attendee, we wanted to make sure you knew about our upcoming National Day of Civic Hacking event on September 18. This is an opportunity to use your time and skills to help transform our 911 emergency system. Right now, our 911 system often deploys an armed law enforcement response as a one-size-fits-all solution regardless of the caller’s needs.

But what if our country’s emergency response system were “people-first”? There is a growing movement to reimagine this system, starting by understanding its levers for change. That’s where the Code for America community comes in.

Register now to join National Day of Civic Hacking 2021. On Saturday, September 18, join fellow civic leaders, public servants, designers, coders, data scientists, and activists for our 9th annual National Day of Civic Hacking—a day of action to partner with local communities and tackle some of our toughest challenges.

This year our theme is “Reimagining 911.” We’ve partnered with Transform 911 to understand, evaluate, and reimagine a human-centered approach to the emergency response system.

This virtual event kicks off with a panel at 9 a.m. PT / 12 p.m. ET followed by working time, an optional lunch-and-learn, and closing remarks. Participants have the option to work independently or with their local Brigade, community group, or assigned volunteer group.

During working time, our coordinated action teams will participate in the following actions:

– Open Data: Research & Scorecard

– Data Analysis

– Prototyping: Case Studies & exploring “How Might We” Statements

We welcome people of all skill levels as well as new and returning volunteers alike. While “hacking” is in the name, you don’t need to know how to code to participate. There will be actions available to leverage different skills, technical and nontechnical. Check out our FAQs to learn more about National Day of Civic Hacking.

See you on the 18th,

The Code for America Team

To reply to this message, please contact brigade-info@codeforamerica.org

Are you ready for Digital Inclusion Week Oct 4-8?

There’s still time to plan so I wanted to share info from NDIA (National Digital Inclusion Alliance) on Digital Inclusion Week 2021…

Digital Inclusion Week is an annual campaign that recognizes local digital inclusion organizations and special events that promote digital equity across the country.

Please join us October 4-8, 2021 – this will be our biggest Digital Inclusion Week ever, with seasoned practitioners and newly launched programs hosting virtual and in-person events. DIW aims to raise awareness of solutions addressing home internet access, personal devices, and local technology training and support programs.

Here’s how it works:

  • Create or find an activity in your area that builds inclusion by providing computer training, media literacy, affordable devices, or internet access to people on the wrong side of digital divides – or builds public awareness.

  • Use the social media kit to raise awareness around the digital divide and the incredible work your community is doing to reach digital inclusion.

  • Connect with colleagues around the country to share ideas through our mailing list.

  • Use hashtags #DIW2021 and #digitalequityNOW during the week of October 4th to join the conversation and celebrate progress.

Learn more – and get resources to help!

EVENT Sep 13: Deleting the Broadband Affordability Divide with FCC Acting Chair Rosenworcel

From the Internet Innovation Alliance (IIAA)

Deleting the Broadband Affordability Divide:
A Virtual Chat with FCC Acting Chair Rosenworcel

featuring a virtual discussion with FCC Acting Chair Jessica Rosenworcel and IIA Co-Chair Kim Keenan, along with founding IIA Connected Roundtable participants:

  • Joi Chaney, Executive Director of National Urban League’s Washington Bureau and Senior Vice President for Policy and Advocacy
  • Dr. Dominique Harrison, Director of Technology Policy for the Joint Center
  • Rosa Mendoza, Founder, President and CEO of ALLvanza

Monday, September 13th
10:00 a.m. ET

Ten years ago, policies to close the digital divide focused exclusively on connection. But we now know that the broadband adoption gap is approximately three times larger than the availability gap. Right now, the Federal Communications Commission is taking action to ensure that all Americans can afford to connect to the internet.

The Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA), a broad-based coalition supporting broadband availability and access for all Americans since 2004, invites you to hear leaders from top social justice organizations engage in a conversation with FCC Acting Chair Rosenworcel about the success of the FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program and what lessons learned can be applied to modernization of the Lifeline Program. Acting Chair Rosenworcel and the Connected Roundtable will explore:

  • What the FCC did to fuel the surge in sign-ups for the EBB and whether similar strategies would increase the Lifeline participation rate from just 26% of eligible households;
  • How long the bipartisan infrastructure bill’s $14.2 billion allocated for an Affordable Connectivity benefit program, which is an extension of the EBB, might last before it runs out;
  • How local governments, private companies, community institutions and advocacy organizations can support the FCC in its mission to bridge the broadband affordability gap;
  • What Lifeline reforms could make the program a viable long-term solution to the broadband affordability challenge.

Lunch Bunch conversation: What is basic broadband and should we be aiming for it? (Video from session)

Thanks to everyone who joined the Lunch Bunch today, especially Micah Beck, Associate Professor at University of Tennessee, Knoxville on universal basic broadband. We had all of the right people in the room, some serious engineers, policy wonks, academics and folks on the frontline of unserved communities. It was nice to spend time thinking about thoughtful ways to build networks to everyone.

Micah recognizes that broadband is expensive – especially when we are talking about high speed symmetrical service to all corners of the state, country or world. He has said that, “the Internet was never designed for “universal service” reaching every mobile device in the world at a personally affordable cost. Instead he proposes a type of broadband where information and transactions don’t happen necessarily in real time but where there’s a modern distributed storage & processing techniques to overcome delays due to distance, interruption, disaster, oversubscription. This would be a service that could support all Internet services other than “synchronous telepresence”.

We talked about the costs, local ownership, the temporal windfall of investment that’s currently happening (or about to happen). We also talked about universal broadband as a redundant tool for served and unserved areas. It came back to a familiar balance – do we want high quality or ubiquitous access? Would basic broadband be an opportunity for local communities to focus on high quality last mile networks?

EVENT: Aug 25 Lunch Bunch conversation: What is basic broadband and should we be aiming for it?

Each month the Blandin Foundation hosts two conversation or lunch bunch sessions; on the second Wednesday of the month the focus is Infrastructure and on the fourth the focus is Digital Inclusion and Use.

On August 25, I propose a conversation with Micah Beck, Associate Professor at University of Tennessee, Knoxville on basic broadband. I think it will be an interesting discussion I hope you will join with all of your experience trying to get usable broadband for your community or in your house.

Micah recognizes that broadband is expensive – especially when we are talking about high speed symmetrical service to all corners of the state, country or world. He has said that, “the Internet was never designed for “universal service” reaching every mobile device in the world at a personally affordable cost. Instead he proposes a type of broadband where information and transactions don’t happen necessarily in real time but where there’s a modern distributed storage & processing techniques to overcome delays due to distance, interruption, disaster, oversubscription. This would be a service that could support all Internet services other than “synchronous telepresence”.

Micah has a few articles that might help make his case. First is a school girl in Northern India who was sent home during the pandemic. She didn’t have access to broadband. (This may sound familiar.) A delayed internet access might have better served her than nothing. The other article aligns – Inclusive Broadband Connectivity Is Within Our Reach with that ethos.

I’m going to be honest, I’m not sure I’m sold on the idea but my high schooler (in St Paul) was able to access broadband during the pandemic. And her sisters are coming home from Winnipeg to finish their degrees remotely this semester. We’d love to have some folks who were left in the cold or using paper packets or parking outside the McDonald’s to get their own work done chime in on the topic.

Register here.