Ely reports on the 2017 MN Broadband conference

The Ely Timberjay reports on local leaders impression on the 2017 Fall Broadband Conference…

Harold Langowski, Economic Development Consultant John Fedo, and community leader Wende Nelson joined more than 150 broadband leaders from across rural Minnesota last month to compare approaches to expanding access to, and use of, high-speed Internet.

The Border to Border Broadband: Bridging the Gaps – Expanding the Impact conference, co-hosted by Blandin Foundation and the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development, highlighted the many ways broadband is creating new opportunities for rural communities.

“Ely has a lot to be proud of,” said Dr. Kathleen Annette, president and CEO of Blandin Foundation. “Local leaders are creating a broadband-enhanced future themselves when others wouldn’t do it for them. Their vision will propel the community forward.”

Research unveiled at the conference found that St. Louis County could see more than $57.3 million in economic benefits over 15 years if broadband access and use improved.  Tech expert Robert Gallardo, assistant director at the Purdue Center for Regional Development, produced profiles of all Minnesota counties using his Digital Divide Index.  St. Louis County placed first as compared to Minnesota’s 86 other counties in potential benefits.

Humphrey School recognizes innovative local government broadband projects

The University of Minnesota reports…

Across the state of Minnesota, local governments are finding creative ways to deliver services to their residents with greater impact and at lower cost. Examples include expanding broadband access in rural Minnesota communities, improving educational outcomes for American Indian students, and enhancing emergency response to people with mental health issues.

Those projects and nearly two dozen others are being recognized by the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, as recipients of its 11th annual Local Government Innovation Awards (LGIA).

Sunrise Township was recognized for their work getting better broadband through CenturyLink and a State Border to Border Broadband grant…

Township Category: Sunrise Township—Broadband Initiative
Sunrise Township in Chisago County spearheaded an extensive effort consisting of community meetings, required notices, and securing approval from 50 percent of property owners, to bring broadband infrastructure to its residents. A collaborative effort between residents and the township board led to creation of a Subordinate Service District (SSD) to help facilitate the installation and financing of high-speed internet through Century Link. The township received a grant and began acquiring a bond, while Century Link assists with funding and works to install fiber optics to SDD area residents by December 2018.

Traverse County also got a nice nod for their work on a wireless project at the county level.

Better broadband expansion could mean economic boost in Nobles County

The Worthington Globe reports on information provided at the 2017 Fall Broadband Conference…

Nobles County could see more than $7.6 million in economic benefits over 15 years if just 20 percent of unserved households gain access to broadband service, according to a recent study.

Every unserved home in Nobles County is located in a rural area or rural town. Roberto Gallardo, assistant director at the Purdue University Center for Regional Development and author of the study, says rural communities can emerge in the growing digital economy — where people can work online from anywhere — with access to broadband, provided they take advantage of the high speeds that give them a competitive boost.

Gallardo created “digital divide” profiles for all 86 counties in Minnesota to show the divide in broadband service and socioeconomic conditions between rural and urban areas.

The study reports Nobles County had an index score of 42.09, similar to that of most Greater Minnesota counties. The divide, in this case, is mostly between Worthington and the rest of the county, as the city has widespread access to broadband speeds.

The study reports that 26.9 percent of Nobles County residents do not have access to fixed broadband of at least 25Mbps download and 3Mbps upload.

That’s where the Lismore Cooperative Telephone broadband project, funded in part by the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development and Nobles County, will change things — by providing broadband wireless speeds to nearly every home in the county and lightning-fast fiber to hundreds of rural homes and every home in Wilmont and Leota.

In southwest Minnesota, Cottonwood County had the largest divide at 51.86 — 39.4 percent of the county is without broadband service. Murray County had the highest unserved population at 48 percent and would gain more than $6.7 million in economic benefits if that number was cut down.

Itasca County view of the MN Broadband Conference

The Grand Rapids Herald Review reports…

Itasca Economic Development Corporation’s Teri Heikkila joined more than 150 broadband leaders from across rural Minnesota last month to compare approaches to expanding access to, and use of, high-speed Internet. The Border to Border Broadband: Bridging the Gaps – Expanding the Impact conference, co-hosted by Blandin Foundation and the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development, highlighted the many ways broadband is creating new opportunities for rural communities.

Research unveiled at the conference found that Itasca County could see more than $18 million in economic benefits over 15 years if broadband access and use improved. Tech expert Robert Gallardo, assistant director at the Purdue Center for Regional Development, produced profiles of all Minnesota counties using his Digital Divide Index. Itasca County placed 19th as compared to Minnesota’s 86 other counties in potential benefits.

As leaders in rural broadband work, Heikkila and Itasca County were central to the conference sharing and learning. A past Blandin Broadband Community, Itasca County leaders have invested in projects such as one-on-one technology assessments and training for local businesses, monthly social media breakfasts, and an IT networking group.

Senators Franken, Klobuchar and others ask the FCC to reconsider broadband changes

A team of senators including both Senator Klobuchar and Senator Franken have sent a letter to the FCC asking them to consider the impact of proposed broadband policy changes…

Dear Chairman Pai:

We encourage the Federal Communications Commission’s efforts to accelerate the deployment of advanced networks to all Americans. However, we have concerns that the Commission will vote on an item this week that could harm consumers. It is critical that we work to enhance networks across the country, we protect existing service for consumers during and after the technology transitions.

As currently drafted, the Accelerating Wireless Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure and Investment Report and Order lessens notifications to consumers about changes to their landline service (virtually eliminating advance notice of copper retirement to retail customers), eliminates the “de facto” retirement rule, and changes the definition of “service” to reduce access to critical communications for consumers in an attempt to lessen regulatory barriers on phone service providers. These changes cause serious concern for rural Americans including the elderly, low-income, and consumers living with disabilities who reply on landline phone service.

As you know, millions of people and businesses, not to mention critical US government operations, across the nation rely on legacy landline phone service. Individuals in rural America, particularly those living where cell phone service is poor, utilize these landlines to conduct business, reach emergency responders, and stay in touch with loved ones. Households and businesses in our states, and across the country, cannot afford the disruption of having service altered without adequate advance notice, the assurance that an equivalent replacement exists and a clear understanding of how to obtain and use the replacement.

Furthermore, this order would affect more than landline phone service. Alarm systems, fax machines, and medical monitoring devices frequently depend on access to landline services. DSL broadband service also relies on landline phone service. If phone lines are not maintained, all of these services could be put in jeopardy. We need a reliable service standard in place to ensure that services people depend on will continue to work, and that rural Americans will not be left behind during this technology upgrade, furthering the digital divide.

Signed by:

  • Margaret Wood Hassan
  • Charles Schumer
  • Jeanne Shaheen
  • Catherine Cortez Masto
  • Al Franken
  • Tammy Duckworth
  • Kirsten Gillibrand
  • Elizabeth Warren
  • Tammy Baldwin
  • Richard Durbin
  • Sherrod Brown
  • Gary Peters
  • Bernard Sanders
  • Amy Klobuchar

AT&T Plans to Launch 5G Evolution in Minneapolis in Time for Big Game

Good news for Minneapolis, from AT&T for the Superbowl – here’s the press release…

AT&T plans to launch 5G Evolution in parts of Minneapolis in the coming months. It will provide its latest network technology in some parts of the city, including areas near the host stadium, in time for the Big Game in February.


Minneapolis is one of 20 markets where we plan to bring AT&T 5G Evolution by the end of the year, with this technology already available in parts of Austin and Indianapolis today. 5G Evolution offers customers a taste of the future of entertainment and connectivity on their devices.


In 5G Evolution markets, we upgrade cell towers with network upgrades that include ultra-fast LTE Advanced features like 256 QAM, 4×4 MIMO, and 3-way carrier aggregation. These features, together with other upgrades, are providing faster speeds and a better customer experience.


With the LG V30, Moto Z2 Force Edition, Samsung Galaxy Note8, Samsung Galaxy S8, Samsung Galaxy S8+, and the Samsung Galaxy S8 Active, AT&T wireless customers in 5G Evolution markets can use these 3 technologies simultaneously. This makes it possible to take full advantage of the wireless experience. We’ll have more 5G Evolution capable devices in the coming months.


“We’re excited about launching this new wireless network in Minneapolis in the coming months as we move towards standards-based mobile 5G,” said Marachel Knight, senior vice president, Wireless Network Architecture and Design. “The upgrades we’re making today in Minneapolis are the foundation for the future of next generation connectivity in this city.”


We’re aggressively deploying equipment and investing in the right mix of spectrum and technology while 5G standards are still being finalized. We’re working with more than a dozen global technology companies to deploy 5G. And we’re are an industry leader finalizing 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) wireless standards requirements by the end of the year. These standards will enable chipset development for global 5G.


This is a major step on our journey to deliver standards based 5G mobile networks as soon as late 2018.


We’ve been working closely with the city of Minneapolis to ensure its network is ready to support the technology of the future. The investments we’re making prepare us for the future of 5G and innovations like smarter cities and immersive entertainment experiences over augmented and virtual reality.

“Minnesota is in a great position to welcome 5G Evolution wireless technology, with a climate that encourages the deployment of small cells – an integral building block for 5G,” said State Senator Bobby Joe Champion.  “Good public policy can help put Minnesota on the map and attract investment that will prepare our state for the next generation wireless economy.”

“It’s no surprise Minneapolis was chosen as a market for 5G Evolution,” said Margaret Anderson Kelliher, president and CEO of the Minnesota High Tech Association.  “Minnesota is well on its way to becoming one of the country’s top five states in science and technology, with a strong innovation economy, talented tech workforce and fast growing tech companies.  These ultra-fast speeds from AT&T will help power tech innovation and boost Minnesota’s competitiveness.”


Adding these LTE Advanced technologies to the wireless network in Minneapolis is just one of the ways we’re investing to improve the customer experience in the area.


From 2014-2016, we invested nearly $350 million in our Minnesota wireless and wired networks. These investments drive a wide range of upgrades to reliability, coverage, speed and overall performance for Minnesota consumers and businesses. They also enhance critical services that support public safety and first responders.


In 2016, we made 1,271 wireless network upgrades in 272 communities across Minnesota. This includes adding new cell sites and network capacity to existing cell sites. Continuing to expand our network in the area gives AT&T the most wireless coverage in Minnesota.


Besides upgrading the network in and around downtown Minneapolis, we’re also making significant upgrades to Distributed Antenna System (DAS) at the Big Game host stadium in downtown Minneapolis. The DAS at the stadium is future-ready.  That means we’ve overloaded the stadium with wireless capacity and boosted LTE capacity by more than 150% compared to last year. With more than 800 antennas, the network inside the stadium alone could provide coverage to the entire city of Minneapolis.


Our Progress on the Path to 5G


Small cells are also an important ingredient on our path to 5G.  We’ve already installed a number of small cells in Minneapolis and plan to add more in the next few months.


The payoff of our 5G network will be limitless for our customers. Lab trials are already reaching speeds up to 14 gigabits-per-second with fixed wireless 5G technologies. We’ll continue advancing 5G in our AT&T Labs locations and in field trials. And we plan to delve further into the role of software-defined networks and 5G.


*About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) helps millions around the globe connect with leading entertainment, business, mobile and high speed internet services. We offer the nation’s best data network and the best global coverage of any U.S. wireless provider.** We’re one of the world’s largest providers of pay TV. We have TV customers in the U.S. and 11 Latin American countries. Nearly 3.5 million companies, from small to large businesses around the globe, turn to AT&T for our highly secure smart solutions.

AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc. Additional information about AT&T products and services is available at about.att.com. Follow our news on Twitter at @ATT, on Facebook at facebook.com/att and YouTube at youtube.com/att

Broadband makes the shortlist of topics Sen Klobuchar discusses in Jackson County

Jackson County Pilot reports on a recent visit Senator Klobuchar made to the area…

Minnesota’s senior senator stopped by the industrial park headquarters of New Fashion Pork Friday evening to talk employment, immigration, transportation, trade, rural broadband connectivity and the farm bill, among other topics. Klobuchar said she was impressed with New Fashion Pork and the Jackson County Food 4 Kids program the company spearheaded a few years ago, urged those gathered to continue lobbying lawmakers for sensible immigration law and pledged to look into impending changes to overland transportation regulations.

And more specifically on broadband..

David Preisler, executive director of the Minnesota Pork Producers and Association and Minnesota Pork Board, talked trade and the farm bill with Klobuchar, while Jackson City Council member Donnie Schoenrock, president of the Southwest Minnesota Broadband Services Board of Directors, briefed the senator on local issues surrounding rural Internet connectivity.

“It’s the digital divide,” Klobuchar said, adding the solution may lie in certain changes necessary at the Federal Communications Commission level.

Klobuchar said she appreciated hearing concerns from those gathered and pledged to continue working on their behalf.