Upper MN River Valley Counties talk about why they need broadband

The West Central Tribune reports…

Of the five counties served by the Upper Minnesota River Valley Regional Development Commission, Chippewa and Yellow Medicine counties have the farthest to go to provide broadband services in their rural areas.

Chippewa and Yellow Medicine are working to make that better…

The RDC hosted a series of six meetings with rural residents in Chippewa and Yellow Medicine counties during the past year to identify the issues and demand.

The meetings made evident the interest that exists in the rural areas of the two counties, and the needs, according to Laura Ostlie with the RDC.

She heard from businesses in areas ranging from Clara City to Canby who cited the challenges they face due to limitations they now experience. In some cases, businesses are turning to costly access to the internet through their mobile phones to meet their needs.

Of those who attended the meetings, 97 percent have internet access, and 87 percent said they had six or more devices that used it. Just over half, or 56 percent of those attending the meetings, rated their current service as “poor.”

Residents would pay more for better service…

Surveys at the meetings revealed rural customers in the two counties are paying an average of $51 a month for internet service. One third said they are willing to pay $30 more per month for improved service.

Webinar Archive: Digital Inclusion: Assessments, Training and Certifications

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Digital Inclusion Training webinar today. Here’s the video archive…

The PPTs

And the description…

Overcoming fears and improving digital skills allows the digitally excluded to make full of broadband-based technologies to improve their school and work readiness as well as their overall quality of life.  Learn how groups in Minneapolis, Cass Lake and Worthington are using digital literacy tools, including assessments, training, workplace partnerships and other strategies to help learners of all ages and abilities.

When: 3-4:00 CST Thursday Sep 14

Participants:

  • Ann Treacy, Treacy Information Services
  • Hannah Buckland, Leech Lake Tribal College
  • Angie Willardson, Project for Pride in Living
  • Julie Foote, MVTV Wireless
  • Sharon Johnson, Worthington Community Education
  • Kayla Westra, MN West Community & Technical College

Sneak preview of today’s webinar on Digital Inclusion: Assessments, Training and Certifications

Today I will be presenting as part of the Free Blandin Webinar on Digital Inclusion. I thought I’d share a sneak preview of what I’ll be saying as a reminder to folks that it’s happening.

Here’s the info on the session – it’s not too late to join:
When: 3-4:00 CST Thursday Sep 14
Register now!

List of presenters:

  • Ann Treacy, Treacy Information Services
  • Hannah Buckland, Leech Lake Tribal College
  • Angie Willardson, Project for Pride in Living
  • Julie Foote, MVTV Wireless
  • Sharon Johnson, Worthington Community Education
  • Kayla Westra, MN West Community & Technical College

And my presentation:

Brookings looks at broadband access and use – how does MN look?

Brookings Institute is looking at broadband access and adoption. I wrote about it from the urban-rural perspective this morning. (Spoiler alert: rural is behind!) This afternoon I thought I’d look at what they are saying about Minnesota – and by Minnesota I really mean St Paul-Minneapolis.

Before we look at the specifics, it’s helpful to look at their definitions and how they came to conclusions:

  • Used FCC’s Form 477 and the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (Dec 2015)
  • Low subscription neighborhood: one where fewer than 40 percent of households subscribed to broadband.
  • Moderate subscription neighborhood: had adoption rates between 40 and 80 percent
  • High subscription neighborhood: one where more than 80 percent of households subscribed to broadband.
  • They focused on metropolitan areas.

Here’s a map – indicating (among other things) that 3.1-6 percent of the Twin Cities neighborhoods do not have access to 25/3 (25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up).

The Twin Cities has 567,459 (or 16.4 percent) residents living in low-subscription neighborhoods.

Here’s how the Twin Cities ranked:

  • Metro Availability at 25/3 – 96.4%
  • Subscription GINI* – .38
  • Combined score – .77
  • Combined rank – 70 (out of 100)

*GINI coefficient (statistical measure of the degree in variation in data) of the subscription quintiles, where higher scores correlate with a higher proportion of the population living in higher-subscription neighborhoods.

They show what a map of the data looks like comparing San Diego and San Antonio. It would be valuable to see this for the Twin Cities. The report gives a nod to the Office of Broadband Development for their annual reports. They don’t list the work done by the City of Minneapolis – who did a community technology survey in 2014. It would be awesome to see a combination of the Brookings and Minneapolis work.

It seems like Brookings is doing research to impact policy – to see which areas need greatest support. A goal of the Minneapolis survey was similar but more granular and service oriented. They wanted to see where the libraries needed to be open longer and provide greater access to computer (which neighborhoods didn’t have home access). Which areas maybe has access and technology but needed more training. In which areas should you work through the schools and where was it better to work through work programs of elder services.

Both are great way to effect change with good info!

Webinar Sep 14: Assessments, Training and Certifications: A path forward for the Digitally Excluded

Assessments, Training and Certifications: A path forward for the Digitally Excluded

Join us for the third of our webinar series on digital inclusion.  Overcoming fears and improving digital skills allows the digitally excluded to make full of broadband-based technologies to improve their school and work readiness as well as their overall quality of life.  Learn how groups in Minneapolis, Cass Lake and Worthington are using digital literacy tools, including assessments, training, workplace partnerships and other strategies to help learners of all ages and abilities.

When: 3-4:00 CST Thursday Sep 14
Register now!

Participants:

  • Ann Treacy, Treacy Information Services
  • Hannah Buckland, Leech Lake Tribal College
  • Angie Willardson, Project for Pride in Living
  • Julie Foote, MVTV Wireless
  • Sharon Johnson, Worthington Community Education
  • Kayla Westra, MN West Community & Technical College

Next Century Cities Offers Playbook for Tech-Powered Civic Engagement

Looks like a great resource!

Next Century Cities Offers Playbook for Tech-Powered Civic Engagement
Playbook Shares Key Lessons from Benton Next Generation Engagement Award Winners and Checklist for Future City Projects

Washington, DC (September 7, 2017) — Next Century Cities released 5 Lessons for Tech-Powered Civic Engagement: The Charles Benton Next Generation Engagement Award Playbook today, sharing key lessons for communities that want to leverage technology to better engage their residents in civic life. The Playbook is attached to this release and can be found at this link.

The Playbook includes learning from the three Benton Next Generation Engagement Award winning cities as well as other best practices and city models. It is geared towards local government leaders and practitioners as they work to more effectively empower residents and increase citizens’ access to democratic decision making using high-speed broadband and technological tools.

The Playbook was released at an event at Google’s Washington, DC headquarters that highlighted how cities are leading the way in tapping technology to connect and hear from their residents. The release event featured representatives from the three inaugural Charles Benton Next Generation Engagement Award winning cities — Austin, Texas; Louisville, Kentucky; Raleigh, North Carolina — who spoke about the work they have accomplished in the past year.

“Next-generation broadband is a valuable tool for empowering citizens to be actively engaged in their communities, which is why we awarded funding for three exciting new civic tech projects and why we’re releasing this Playbook for more cities to use,” said Deb Socia, Executive Director of Next Century Cities. “The Benton Next Generation Engagement Playbook that we released today explores lessons our three winning cities learned in their first year of project implementation, and will help more communities nationwide tap the power of high-speed broadband connectivity to offer better access to democracy and civic life.”

The accomplishments of the three Benton Award-winning cities and innovative projects implemented by other cities across the country are highlighted in depth in the Playbook. The Playbook also includes five key lessons from projects that have successfully leveraged technology for civic engagement and a Civic Engagement Checklist that community leaders can use as they plan and implement their own future civic tech efforts.

The five main lessons explored in the new Charles Benton Next Generation Engagement Playbook are as follows:

  1. Build With, Not For – Each community knows its own needs best, so engaging stakeholders across the impacted area during the project’s initial phase is key.
  2. Partnership Breeds Results – Cross-sector collaboration brings expertise to the table, and promotes buy-in.
  3. Civic Technology Is a Spectrum – A city’s approach should match its goal, and there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to engaging citizens.
  4. The Multiplier Effect – Effective civic technology programs yield benefits far beyond their immediate goals.
  5. Changing Communities for the Better – Well-executed digital civic engagement projects ensure citizens’ voices are heard in new and interactive ways, which can lead to increased feelings of empowerment, a greater level of ownership and attachment to the community.

“Next Century Cities hopes that this Playbook will provide community leaders with a roadmap and tested set of best practices to aid them as they leverage innovative technologies to create and implement civic engagement projects,” Deb Socia continued.

A video of this event can be accessed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdpV2ny24K0

Free NTEN Webinar on Wednesday – Older Adults & Technology

Looks like a great session…

Webinar: Older Adults & Technology – Best practices, recommendations, and future directions
START: SEPTEMBER 6, 2017 – 11:00 AM PT
COST: FREE
LOCATION: VIRTUAL
REGISTER NOW!

In this interactive webinar, participants will be introduced to OATS & Senior Planet programs, methodology, and the technologies best suited for digital literacy instruction among older learners. Additional topics will cover the impacts of ageism and technology acceptance among older adults, creating social learning environments poised for successful tech adoption, and the implications for deploying digital literacy training in myriad settings.