What is the Broadband Line Extension Program in Minnesota?

Sharing information from the Office of Broadband Development…

Line Extension Connection

What is the Minnesota Broadband Line Extension Connection?

The Line Extension Connection program goal is to connect residents and businesses that lack access to broadband internet service to service providers, and then assist in the expense of extending broadband to those locations.

How the Program Works

Residential and business locations that are unserved (lack access to speeds of at least 25Mbps download and 3Mbps upload) can apply by entering their information into the Line Extension Connection portal.* This will initiate their interest in receiving broadband internet service and make their location available for consideration.

By submitting your address into the Line Extension Connection portal, internet service providers will have the opportunity to review the location and submit a bid based on the cost to bring service to your location.

The Office of Broadband Development will evaluate these bids and required provider documentation and make awards to the providers whose bid proposes the lowest cost to the State for extension of the service.

*Submitting location information into the Line Extension Connection portal does not guarantee extension of service.

*If a resident or business cannot access the online portal, the Office of Broadband Development can assist in this process. Please call 651-259-7610.

Who Can Apply

Locations that currently lack broadband service or have actual broadband speeds of less than 25/3Mbps.

Funding

The Minnesota Broadband Line Extension Connection Program has been allocated $15 million in total funding.

Limits per line extension are set by Minnesota law. These limits are:

  • A per line extension amount cannot exceed $25,000.
  • The Office of Broadband Development must ensure the bid is a cost-effective use of state funds.

Timeline

The Minnesota Broadband Line Extension Connection online portal is accepting applications.

The bidding and review processes must take place before awards can be made. Once made, projects must be completed within 12 months of the contract date.

  • At least every six months, OBD will provide Internet Service Providers the listing of addresses requesting service
  • Service providers will have 10 days to notify OBD of service availability at those locations
  • Service Providers have 60 days to submit bids on locations they would like to extend service to
  • OBD will evaluate all bids within 60 days and select the provider whose bid requests the lowest amount of financial support from the state.

More information is available on our website. Need help applying or need to request a paper form? Call 651-259-7610 or email deed.broadband@state.mn.us.

Office of Broadband Development urges MN to play role in Digital Equity Plan

The Office of Broadband Development is reaching out to folks to join the effort to get better broadband…

Lack of affordable internet access, lack of an internet-enabled device, and limited digital skills aren’t just an inconvenience. They hold people back from educational and employment opportunities, civic engagement, timely and affordable health care, and staying connected with friends and family. 

Some communities and individuals may be more likely to lack digital access and may have a greater need for digital skills training, including older Minnesotans, people who live in rural communities, Black Minnesotans, Indigenous people, people of color, and others. Digital access and skills are needed to engage with school and education, find employment, access health care resources and more. That’s why efforts to achieve digital equity are so important.  

DEED’s Office of Broadband Development (OBD) is developing a digital equity plan to create improvements in internet affordability, access to internet-enabled devices, and ways to provide digital skills training. We want to hear from Minnesotans most impacted by the digital access and skills gap to ensure our digital equity plan reflects the goals and needs of all Minnesotans. This plan will help us determine how to spend federal funding coming in 2024 aimed at increasing digital access and skills. 

Cities, counties, schools, libraries, faith communities, businesses, internet providers, nonprofits, and other organizations are encouraged to form Digital Connection Committees and partner with us to share these critical insights. We’re hoping these committees can gather information about local digital inclusion strengths, needs, and goals, and then share summaries with OBD. Information can be gathered however it works best for a community or organization. It could be a conversation circle, a survey, an asset inventory of existing digital inclusion resources – or some other way. The workload is flexible, and we look forward to working with Digital Connection Committees to bring creative ideas to life. 

Committees are especially encouraged to include members who are: 

  • 60 or older 
  • Currently or formerly incarcerated 
  • Current or former members of the U.S. military 
  • Black, Indigenous, and People of Color 
  • People with disabilities 
  • Low-income households 
  • Learning to speak or read English 
  • Living in rural communities. 

To help support the work of Digital Connection Committees, OBD will provide resources, templates, and general guidance. OBD is also offering optional, non-competitive mini-grants to eligible Digital Connection Committees. To receive a mini-grant, committees can apply by filling out a short application by March 3, 2023.  

In addition, Digital Connection Committees need to complete this form to register with our office by March 15, 2023, and complete their work by June 30 of this year. 

Find more details on DEED’s OBD website

Follow up from Internet for All: Connecting One Minnesota from Bree Maki

Last week, the Office of Broadband Development hosted Internet for All: Connecting One Minnesota. Today, with permission, I’m sharing the follow up note attendees received from Bree Maki, Executive Director of the Office of Broadband Development…

Greetings,Thank you so much for joining us on January 25, 2023 for the Internet for All: Connecting One Minnesota event.  We hope that you found the day worth your time and enjoyed meeting new partners and connecting with old friends.  Minnesota has a long history of working together to achieve broadband access and we look forward to continuing this work with our Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) and Digital Equity plans.  We are so thankful for all of our co-hosts – National Telecommunications & Information Administration, Association of Minnesota Counties, League of Minnesota Cities, and the Minnesota Association of Townships.  This event could not have been as robust without the talented, knowledgeable, and willing panelists, speakers, moderators, and staff that worked so hard to make it a success.

Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) Plan

While we don’t anticipate knowing how much BEAD funding the state will receive until June 30th, we are working to develop the required Five Year Action Plan which is due July 12, 2023. The Five Year Plan will address Minnesota’s goals and objectives and inform the subsequent Initial and Final Proposals for BEAD funding. While many of the requirements for the BEAD Plan will be based on Minnesota’s existing statutory goals, established Border to Border Broadband Infrastructure Grant program, and priority uses outlined in the NTIA Notice of Funding Opportunity, we will be engaging with our partners to help inform and guide our work and fill in any areas where we have the discretion to enhance efforts regarding infrastructure deployment. With that in mind, if you would like to meet and discuss ideas for how we can improve the Border to Border grant program or the work of our office, or if there are barriers that need to be addressed to ensure programmatic success, please reach out to us at deed.broadband@state.mn.us to schedule a meeting.

Digital Equity Plan

This winter and spring, we are excited to begin crafting Minnesota’s Digital Equity Plan. The DE Plan—which is different from the BEAD 5-Year plan, even as they will overlap—will address barriers people experience when trying to afford internet service, acquire an internet-enabled device, and develop digital skills. To ensure the plan is truly Minnesota’s plan, we encourage local participation in Digital Connection Committees (briefly and previously dubbed “digital inclusion planning teams”).  A wide variety of entities—including political subdivisions, non-profits, anchor institutions, faith-based organizations, MN-based businesses, and more—can form Digital Connection Committees. Committees receive planning updates from OBD while gathering information about local digital inclusion strengths and needs for inclusion in the DE Plan. Committees’ participation is voluntary; the workload is flexible based on Committee capacity. To support Digital Connection Committees, OBD will provide resources, templates, and general guidance. OBD is also offering non-competitive mini-grants to eligible Committees. A brief application is required, due March 3 at 3:00 p.m. Central. For more information or to register a Committee, please see the attached handout, visit OBD’s digital inclusion webpage, or contact Hannah Buckland, Digital Equity Program Lead, at hannah.buckland@state.mn.us.

Again, thank you for your support and interest in assisting the Office of Broadband Development in this important work.

MN Broadband Task Force Meeting Jan 2023 – general updates

Today the MN Broadband Task Force met to get general updates from Office of Broadband Development and Legislature. There is clearly a concern that there are not strong advocates at the legislature despite the $276 million set in Governor’s budget. Hearing about the federal funding, it is clear that it will not come quickly but there are opportunities for local communities to get involved. For example, Region 9 is looking at hosting a broadband conference for their community.

Next meetings are Feb 22 and March 27.

Here are details.

10:00 a.m. – 10:05 a.m. – Welcome, Task Force Introductions, and Approval of Minutes from December 19 and December 22 meetings

10:05 a.m. – 10:10 a.m. – Legislative Update by Deven Bowdry, DEED

  • Governor recommendation is $138Million per year for the biennium
  • Bree and/or Teddy have presented to various Legislative committees
  • No broadband bills yet
  • Lots of new bill makers (Ecklund is gone; broadband in new committee) – so people have questions about mobile vs fiber and what speeds mean

Q: Will there be a day of the hill?
There was a one for the providers – but not others.
MN Broadband Coalition is not in a position to do a day on the hill; apparently we had a bill due but we’re trying to move forward. We need to convene a meeting. We’d like to at least have a lobby day.

10:10 a.m. – 10:40 a.m. How Can the Task Force Advocate for Broadband Funding at the Legislature? – Nathan Zacharias, Technology Policy Analyst, Association of Minnesota Counties

Tips for lobbying

  • Have a factsheet (map of availability with quick facts, available federal funds, speed goals, suggested funding level)
  • Get testimony and/or write letters
  • Work with committee chairs when you can – also vice chairs and minority leads

Q: Can we look for better than 50 percent match? Can we figure out how much of property tax is going into Border to Border funds already?
Some folks don’t have enough of a tax base to match grants.

10:40 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.  – Office of Broadband Development Update by Bree Maki, Executive Director

  • Border conference 242 people in person and 193 online (registered)
  • We heard from past three Task Force chairs
  • We will be doing a survey to see if folks want another conference knowing that we’re missing another conference planner

10:50 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Line Extension Program Update by Bree Maki

  • $15 million
  • People can apply online or via paper to report their unserved address
  • 856 applicants so far (in 3 months) – 53 are businesses
  • Trying to connect with providers
  • We think we have funds for about 600 line extensions

Q: Any consideration of accelerating the process?
Not with all of the other things are happening. For example some addresses may be served from recent grant recipients.

Q: Le Sueur is the project partner for this project. We have a lot of fiber in the ground but it’s middle mile. How can we as a county engage with the process? DO we need to rely on vendors? Can we get the addresses?
People have to register themselves. Getting the word out there is most important. We can’t share personal address info.

Q: Is the map available on the website?
No.

Q: Is there any thought to recommend to legislature to improve on the $5 million cap and 50 percent match?
The low density pilot project is still being tested. We reach capacity even with 50 percent match so we’re hard to push on that. There is an interest in going to a $10 million cap and it sounds like folks are talking about it. There are a lot of unknowns.
An Analysis of last year’s applications to see how much of state funding was property taxes.
Association of Townships is working on this.

11:00 a.m. – 11:10 a.m. Border-to-Border Grant Program Update by Diane Wells, Deputy Director, Office of Broadband Development

  • Awarded $100M to 62 projects in December 2022 – leverage was $152M
  • Opened the latest round of grants ($42M in ARPA and $25M State), pre-applications were due Jan 19 – applications due March 2 – hope to announce awards by late Spring
  • 25-30 projects are still open
  • BEAD funding – working with $5M planning grant. Five year plan due July 2023. Each state will receive at least $100M. Goals: 1: reach unserved, reach unserved, get Gig to anchor institutes. Some indication that we might get $650M total (so another extra $550M; we should know mid-June.)
  • First 20 percent of funding might not be released until mid-2024. There will be 4-years for implementation.

Q: ON the maps … just heard there were one million locations added to maps? Has Connected Nation been able to see anomalies? I know of locations that are misrepresented.
Availability of service is best known by person at that location. So we asked folks to report anomalies. The FCC used a fabric developed by Costquest – one option we have is to use them to try to sync with them or we have decided to work with local source to build a map. That will help us challenge. Some providers have reported to the FCC using different methods. Without the fabric in place first, we’re at a disadvantage. We didn’t do a bulk challenges of addresses but it looks like those who did were rejected.

Q: In Le Sueur we made a push to improved maps – but we’re having trouble even getting surveys done online because the broadband is poor.
The OBD staff is all remote and many rural – they are acutely aware of issues. We hope to get more engaged to document in five year plan.

11:10 a.m. – 11:20 a.m.                Break

11:20 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Digital Equity Update – Hannah Buckland, Digital Equity Program Lead, Office of Broadband Development

  • Digital Equity Act – not BEAD – Due Nov 30, 2023 – then we send in a noncompete application.
  • There are 15 aspects we need to address in the capacity grant application.
  • There are opportunities for communities to get involved and for communities to get funding to get involved.

11:30 a.m. – 11:50 a.m. Input from Governor’s Task Force Members

Q: What can we do to push the issue at the legislature?
We could be at the legislature. Talk to legislators.

11:50 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  Public Comment, Other Business, Future Speakers for February 22 and March 27, 2023 Meetings, Wrap-up

EVENT Feb 1: Broadband Budget at MN Senate Committee Agriculture, Broadband, and Rural Development Committee

Happening tomorrow…

Feb 1 at 3pm
Chair: 
Senator Aric Putnam

Location: 1150 Minnesota Senate Bldg.

If you wish to testify on SF 548, please email the Committee Administrator, Hunter Pederson, at hunter.pederson@senate.mn by 12:00 p.m. (noon) on Tuesday 01/31. Please include your name/the testifier’s name, title, and organization.

Agenda:

  • Call to Order

  • Governor’s Budget Presentation- Broadband Items

  • S.F. 0548  Putnam

    Rural Finance Authority bond issue and appropriation

EVENT Jan 31: Information Session: Your role in creating Minnesota’s digital equity plan

While this event is aimed at librarians, it’s open to everyone. Librarians are pretty welcoming and ask good questions so it could be an interesting way to learn more about the Office of Broadband Development’s plan for digital equity…

Throughout 2023, the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development (OBD) is developing a statewide digital equity plan to improve internet affordability, access to internet-enabled devices, and availability of digital skills training. This plan will help direct millions of federal dollars to Minnesota for future digital-equity initiatives.

As established leaders in digital equity, libraries have an important role to play in this planning process. On Tuesday, January 31, at 2:00 p.m., please join us to learn from OBD staff about some special opportunities for libraries to contribute to the plan, including through Digital Inclusion Planning Teams, regional gatherings, and a non-competitive grant round.

Register online.

EVENT Jan 26: MN House Agriculture Finance and Policy Committee Meeting

The Minnesota House will be talking about the Governor’s broadband budget request tomorrow (Jan 26). Here’s more info from the House…

Thursday, January 26, 2023
1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
State Capitol, Room 1205857

***ADDED: Overview of the Governor’s Budget Request for broadband.***

 

AGENDA*

  1. Overview of the Governor’s Budget Request for broadband.
  2. Overview by Department of Agriculture, Plant Protection Division.
  3. H.F. 47 (Hansen) Pollinator research funding provided, money transferred, and money appropriated.
  4. H.F. 352 (Hansen) University of Minnesota; heritage oilseed and grain initiative funding provided, and money appropriated.
  5. H.F. 80 (Anderson, P. H.) County agricultural inspector grant funding provided, and money appropriated.

HANDOUTS: Handouts MUST BE IN PDF FORMAT and emailed to the committee administrator by 12 p.m. (noon) the business day before the hearing.  If you are bringing hard copies, bring 40 copies.  Note: submitted written testimony is public and will be included in the official committee record.  It may be posted to the committee webpage if received by deadline.

TESTIFYING: Testimony is limited.  The number of testifiers and length of time permitted is at the discretion of the chair, and is subject to change.  Please plan accordingly.  If you would like to testify, please email the committee administrator by 12 p.m. (noon) the business day before the hearing.

DOCUMENTS: Meeting documents may be found on the Agriculture Finance and Policy webpage.

ACCESSIBILITY: To learn more about requesting an accommodation, please visit the FAQs for Disability Access.  If you have further questions on accommodations or accessibility, please contact the Committee Administrator.

 

Please note that this list serv notification email is not monitored.  If you wish to reply, please email the committee administrator.

MN House Agriculture Finance and Policy hear about broadband and see the 2022 Broadband Task Force Report

Today the MN House Agriculture Finance and Policy Committee heard presentations by the Office of Broadband Development and an overview of the Governor’s Broadband Task Force Annual Report. (You can access a better video archive of the meeting on the MN House site.)

Bree Maki spoke on what’s happening with the Office of Broadband Development. Teddy Bekele spoke about the work of the MN Broadband Task Force and their most recent annual report.

Here are the questions for the Office of Broadband Development

Q: how did you leverage federal funds?
A: With line extension and low population. We’ve always used MN funds in the past. There is an opportunity to use more federal funds. WE don’t know the allocation yet.

Q: Do we need legislation to allow better than 50 percent match?
A: yes

Q: Line extension is designed for unserved – how can they get online to register?
A: We accept paper applications and posting in local papers. WE has 540 applicants at the end of 2022.

Q: Digital equity goal is thrive – who judges?
A: WE need people to be able to use technology. We are looking to partner with folks who are doing the work.

Q: WE have $167 million to broadband to invest … how much business can the industry handle that?
A: We have providers who have been working with communities for years. They know the needs; they are ready. And rumor has it, the supply chain is opening up.

Q: Do you have numbers on grants and manufactured home communities?
A: no. But we recognize the importance.

Q: Is there a special plans for reaching manufactured home parks?
A: We are trying to be inclusive. WE have brought housing authorities into our plan.

Q: There are 540 line extension applications – how are they prioritized?
A: WE do a review every 6 months and try to match applicants with willing providers.

Q: Broadband in rural areas can be expensive  … wouldn’t satellite be a better option? I know there’s a long waiting list. Can we help people jump the queue?
A: We are technology neutral.

Q: What about metro areas? How do you reach low income neighborhoods? In a rural area I saw broadband get deployed in an Amish area and they’ll never use it. So how about urban areas?
A: We are trying to get a gauge on better maps. We do state mapping and there’s an FCC map.

For the Task Force

Q: what’s the makeup of the Task Force?
A: it is selected by the Governor and they try to keep it diverse.

Q: What about the 50 percent match? What would be a better match?
A: We’d like to give latitude to the OBD to make the judgement on a case by case basis.

Q: Are we past the turf war battle?
A: Minnesota is big with collaboration, including cooperatives. So there are more than the traditional options. It takes us all to work together. Yes there is opportunity for competitive markets.

MN Office of Broadband Development presents to MN Senate – Agriculture, Broadband Rural Development

MN Office of Broadband Development presented to MN Senate committee on Agriculture, Broadband Rural Development. Video, notes and handouts below. The OBD did a great job; the questions are often the most interesting part, if you’ve been watching the OBD all year.

OBD Timeline

  • 2011 – speed goal
  • 2016 – revised speed goal 25/3
  • 2022 – $100 million state money for broadband grants
  • 2022 – grant applications are currently open. Folks can apply for line extension

Resources for digital equity is new for OBD.

Current state of broadband

  • 12 percent of MN do not get 100/20
  • 80 percent unserved are in rural area (1 in 3 households don’t have access!)

Info on grants

  • 6 years of appropriation out of last 8 years.
  • Awards are capped at $5 million and require 50 percent match – the Low Density Program in 2023 caps at $10 million with a 75 percent match
  • $168 million spent on grants

Federal Opportunities (IIJA)

  • BEAD – for infrastructure. MN will get $100 million but FCC mapping with impact that mount
  • Digital Equity – need to have a plan together by Nov 2023
  • ACP Affordable Connectivity Program
  • ReConnect (Dep of AG)
  • Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program
  • Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure (out in March 2023)
  • RDOF

Q: Lots of funding is coming in but sounds like different funds have and different requirements. But we still need state investment, right?
A: We can use state funds to leverage federal funds and expectations.

Q: What are the auctions?
A: Someone puts out a need, and a provider can come back with an offer to meet that need.

Q: SO if one provider builds the network and then says they can’t provide service, does the next guy have to rebuild
A: Hard to answer for the provider.

Q: About digital equity – are those just for households or businesses or also for schools and libraries?
A: We will try to bring everyone together.

Q: Where does border to border grant matches come from?
A: Could be a community or a provider.

Q: Where does the majority of the match come from?
A: Both community and providers – community especially since the pandemic.

Q: Wright County looks like it’s well served but I know there are areas without access. What do we do for them and others where the county is mostly served but not entirely.
A: The mapping is not always right, which is why we encourage folks to test the FCC maps.

Q: I have many constituents who need a line extension?
A: The line extension program would cover that.

Q: Do you have a full staff?
A: No – like all industries, we are trying to hire more.

Q: What is digital equity?
A: Making sure people have broadband but the tools and skills to use it as well. And affordable.

Q: So the OBD is expanding their role?
A: This expansion comes from NTIA and a requirement for receiving IIJA funds.

Q: Can you tell us about the recent rounds of grants?
A: Awarded $100 million in December. Just opened applications for $67 million.

Q: Are things getting delayed because of staff shortage?
A: Staffing is a priority and so are the grants. We are a staff of 6.

EVENT Jan 11: MN Senate Agriculture, Broadband, and Rural Development Committee

The MN Senate Agriculture, Broadband, and Rural Development Committee will meet on January 11. On the agenda is a presentation from the Office of Broadband Development.

Here are the Committee leaders:

And the other members:

EVENT Jan 25: Internet for All: Connecting One Minnesota Workshop

This will be an informative day, hosted by the Office of Broadband Development…

Internet for All: Connecting One Minnesota Workshop
Wed, January 25, 2023, 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM CST
Mystic Lake Center 2400 Mystic Lake Blvd Prior Lake, MN 55372

The Minnesota Office of Broadband Development, Association of Minnesota Counties, League of Minnesota Cities, and the Minnesota Association of Townships, and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration invite you to the Internet for All: Connecting One Minnesota Workshop in Prior Lake, MN!

This day long workshop will bring together critical partners in Minnesota from the federal, state, tribal, and local governments, industry, and other key collaborators to discuss coordination on broadband efforts as the state prepares to receive significant broadband funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Connecting all people in Minnesota to affordable, reliable high-speed internet is critical to our economic stability and this event will provide an opportunity for us to discuss ways we can work together to efficiently and effectively utilize these federal dollars to the maximum extent. Proposed agenda topics include:

Looking Back at Broadband in Minnesota

Connecting all Minnesotans to Broadband

Overview of Federal Broadband Funding Opportunities

Why Digital Equity Matters

Digital Equity in Practice

Industry Panel: Networking Design and Build

Local Coordination: How to Get Involved

Barriers to Broadband Access and Tools to Break Them Down

Networking And Office Hours with the Minnesota Broadband Office and NTIA

Additional Details

Registration will open at 8:30 am; the program will begin at 9:00 am.

There is no fee to attend this event.

A light breakfast and lunch will be provided. If you have any special dietary needs, please contact Julia Pulidindi at (202) 748-7878 or jpulidindi@ntia.gov by Wednesday, January 18, 2023.

Upon request, accommodations for individuals with disabilities will be provided by calling (202) 748-7878 or emailing jpulidindi@ntia.gov 10 days before the event (Monday, January 16, 2023.)

Also upon request, voice interpretation services (in Hmong, Somali, and Spanish) will be made available by contacting Julia Pulidindi at (202) 748-7878 or jpulidindi@ntia.gov by Monday, January 16, 2023.

For those requiring accommodations, hotel rooms are available at the Mystic Lake Casino Hotel. Reservations can be made by calling (800) 548-8536.

EVENT: Jan 25: Internet for All: Connecting One Minnesota Workshop

An invitation from the Office of Broadband Development…

Internet for All: Connecting One Minnesota Workshop
January 25, 2023 in Prior Lake MN

This event will bring together local governments, community leaders, industry, state and federal representatives and other critical partners from around the state to learn about and discuss key programs that are aimed at expanding broadband infrastructure and promoting digital equity for our residents.

Update from DEED on BEAD at MAPCED: Border to Border grants out soon – the FCC maps are important

Today I attended the MAPCED conference session on Internet For All & Office of Broadband Legislative Priorities with Bree Maki & Hannah Buckland, Office of Broadband Development, DEED. Here are some of the highlights:

  • $100 grant awards will be announced soon. And hope to announce the next round soon after with the low density awards.
  • DEED will do what they can to help the Broadband blog continue.

BEAD at DEED from Bree

  • Minnesota is ahead of the game for digital planning. Looking forward to the shift to working on use as well as infrastructure.
  • $100 million for infrastructure – including whatever the FCC maps indicates for need.
  • Working on a kickoff meeting for the end of January
  • More on FCC mapping –
    • Go on the map and challenge locations
    • Multiunit dwelling show as served if one household is served
    • DEED is doing review of maps
  • BEAD Plan is 5 year plan
    • Need to education state policymakers
    • We are getting a lot of money but Minnesota is a big state and a lot of work needs to happen
    • Line extension is open and 75/25 match as opposed to 50/50 in border to border grants
    • We still need to talk some people into understanding why broadband in important – it’s a great grandkid magnet

Digital Equity from Hannan

  • Digital Inclusion has 3 parts: broadband, device and skills to use it – as well as trust, safety and relevance
  • Funding
    • Planning of $60 million – MN gets almost $900,000. Once money is awarded MN gets a year to plan
    • Capacity $1.44 billion –
    • Competition grants $1.25 billion – administers by NTIA not OBD
  • Plan will include
    • Local inventories
    • Local community engagement
    • State digital equity goals

Questions:

What role can attended participate in the process?

  • Come to the January kick off.
  • There will be work groups and we’ll look for participation – such as workforce.
  • If you have a digital equity or broadband plan – please let us know

What’s up with the Test it app?
Available at NaCO website and apparently the FCC will pay attention to those results.

Should we ask policymakers to push back on FCC mapping deadline?
It’s worth starting the conversation. This is a tough time of year. But we don’t want to push for far that it holds back the money.

MN Broadband Task Force Nov 2022: Workshopping the report draft: reliability and costs

Today the Task Force went through drafts of their annual report. As much as possible, I have screen shots of the draft (in PPT form), which is really last year’s version with some updates. Then I have the documents they used to discuss the challenges and recommendations made by both sub-groups Affordability and Adoption Sub-Group AND Funding, Mapping and Usage Sub-Group. The screenshots of a Google Docs are really where the beef is.

The was discussion on consumer perception of broadband reliability with a leaning toward making sure that the provider perspective was understood as well. That very the problem isn’t with the connection but with the user and/or user equipment. There was also discussion about trying to come up with a cost to bring broadband to everyone in Minnesota. The average cost per household was penciled in as $9300. That is not far off previous numbers; I suspect it’s hard to anticipate shortages, price increases and natural barriers in reaching the last households. Also folks were wondering if broadband meant wired solutions only.

There was also an update from the Office of Broadband Development. They are currently hiring two grants managers and are looking at hiring more positions soon.

Full notes Continue reading

OPPORTUNITY: Office of Broadband Development looks for Grants Specialist Coordinator

The Office of Broadband Development is looking for a Grants Specialist Coordinator

Working TitleBroadband Program Administrator
 Job Class: Grants Specialist Coordinator
Agency: Department of Employment & Economic Development 

  • Who May Apply: This vacancy is open for bids and for all qualified job seekers simultaneously. Bidders will be considered through 11/12/2022.
  • Date Posted: 11/04/2022
  • Closing Date: 11/21/2022
  • Hiring Agency/Seniority Unit: Department of Employment & Economic Development
  • Division/Unit: Business & Community Development / Broadband Development
  • Work Shift/Work Hours: Day Shift
  • Days of Work: Monday – Friday
  • Travel Required: Yes – 10% local and occasional overnight travel
  • Salary Range: $27.93 – $41.24 / hourly; $58,317 – $86,109 annually
  • Classified Status: Classified
  • Bargaining Unit/Union: 214 – MN Assoc of Professional Empl/MAPE
  • FLSA Status: Exempt – Administrative
  • Telework Eligible: Yes – May be eligible to telework up to five (5) days per week
  • Designated in Connect 700 Program for Applicants with Disabilities: Yes

Make a difference in the lives of Minnesotans

The work you’ll do is more than just a job. Join the talented, engaged and inclusive workforce dedicated to creating a better Minnesota.