Iron Range Entrepreneur Speaks up for Broadband Deployment and Tax Incentives

Last November the Minnesota Broadband Task Force met in Duluth – a meeting that coincided with the Minnesota Broadband Conference. The Task Force heard from one young entrepreneur about his business developing apps and the difficulty he had getting his job done with limited broadband on the Iron Range. Yesterday the same entrepreneur (Jake Dahl) had a Letter to the Editor in the Duluth News Tribune

I’m a 2012 graduate of Eveleth-Gilbert High School and currently attend Mesabi Range Community and Technical College. For the past couple years, I’ve been developing a series of handy smart phone apps that users can download on their iOS devices. In the short time I’ve been doing this, the app consumer community here has grown significantly as more and more people are using wireless devices (mostly the iPhone) for a wide variety of needs. Entrepreneurs like me are tapping into those needs and developing useful applications that mobile users want.

It’s a thriving industry, but we need a strong wireless broadband system to support our efforts.

He pleads the case for improving broadband infrastructure by allowing tax incentives to defray costs of broadband deployment…

That’s why we’re even more concerned about recent developments in the state Legislature that would increase taxes on broadband network providers. Instead of doing everything it can to encourage network providers to expand broadband services, the Minnesota Senate recently passed a bill that would repeal some of the tax breaks the state offers on purchases of telecommunications equipment.

Many Internet-related entrepreneurs like me worry that such a move would slow mobile broadband development and deployment on the Iron Range and around the state. The state needs to do everything it can to encourage private investment in broadband. The high-tech community here and elsewhere in the state depends on it.

I thought I’d include the video of Jake’s remarks from last November too…

Blandin Foundation’s impact on Kanabec County

I’m a little slow on this story – but had to share it. It’s from Kanabec County Times about the opportunity students had at the 2012 Minnesota Broadband Conference to attend technology classes and about Kanabec County’s participation in the Blandin Broadband Communities (BBC) program).

About the Students…

Four Mora students and 33 others from across the state learned about new technology during a two-day training session in Duluth Nov. 13.

This is the first year that students in Mora are able to attend this conference. Led by Inver Hills Community College, students learned about computer hardware, networking, Web development and social media.

About BBC…

The Blandin Foundation announced Nov. 14 that Kanabec County was selected as a Blandin Broadband Community and awarded up to $100,000 for expanding broadband in the county. The Blandin Broadband Communities program is an intensive, two-year partnership between Blandin Foundation and selected rural Minnesota communities.

The program provides planning and organizing support to regions that demonstrate readiness and resources to either bring robust broadband adoption to communities without it, or assist already connected communities in making the best use of information and services broadband can deliver.

It’s fun to hear what the Blandin boost can mean to a community…

“The KBI group has been working since January 2011 to address the broadband needs of all county residents and businesses,” said Beth Thorp, Mora Community Development Planner.

“We see this partnership with the Blandin Foundation as a key step in our efforts to educate residents and business owners about the options and uses for broadband, as well as to continue to move us closer to our goal of providing increased broadband speeds and options to the rural parts of Kanabec County.”

What others are saying about the Broadband Confernece

I have been busy trying to post info from the broadband conference in Duluth. But I’m not the only one. I wanted to share notes from others…

DFL Legislature could make a difference for broadband – OK this is part about the conference and part about the latest Broadband Task Force, but I think Dave Peters from Minnesota Public Radio as done a nice job of putting the Task Force Panel in political perspective

A visiting expert’s view: Public-private collaboration can advance mobile future – Diane Smith spoke to the Broadband Task Force in Duluth. Her article in the Duluth News Tribune is reflective of the presentation she gave to the Task Force about rural entrepreneurs needing broadband.

Broadband adoption in Minnesota hits three-quarters but slows – more from Dave Peters on a new survey by the Center for Rural Policy and Development.

Building our Connected Future: Minnesota’s Better with Broadband!: Final Thoughts

This year I have final thoughts from a couple of perspectives. First we have Mark Erickson (from Winthrop) and JoAnne Johnson (from U-reka Broadband) giving their reflections on the conference. Mark focused on 10 things he had learned; JoAnne kept her ears open and highlighted comments heard and themes emerging.

We also have Bernadine Joselyn, who always does a nice job of calling out the salient themes from the conference…

Trends in Business Applications: Conference Break Out

We learned how cloud, mobile and e-commerce applications are changing the way business is conducted. Leaders from Minnesota’s technology industry provide an overview that can help you work with your existing businesses to increase their own tech vitality. Panelists: Neal Tovsen; Founder, TelemetryWeb; James Gagliardi, Vice President, Product, Digital River, Inc; Lonnie Bloomquist, Founder, Chief Technology Officer, Involta

Broadband Applications in Healthcare: Conference Break Out

We learned how broadband and technology are affecting healthcare services in northeastern Minnesota. From diagnostics, virtual specialist’s telehealth services and electronic medical records over Gb networks to home healthcare monitoring and the use of mobile devices. Broadband technology is enabling improved healthcare access, collaboration and communication in this corner of the state. Panelists: Maureen Ideker, Essentia Health; Cheryl Stephens, Community Health Information Collaborative; Jeff Plunkett, SISU Medical Systems.

ARRA and RUS Projects – Where we Stand: Conference Break Out

What is the state of ARRA and RUS broadband projects and how they will impact broadband adoption, use and availability in Minnesota? Panelists shared their knowledge and perspective on the projects, and their impacts in Minnesota; as well as share their views on what might be coming next. Panelists: Dennis Ahlers, Assistant Commissioner, Department of Commerce; Thomas Jensen, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Utilities Service – Telecommunications Division. Moderator: JoAnne Johnson, U-reka Broadband.