MN Broadband Task Force April Mtg archive & video: Angie Craig, LTD Broadband & NCTA

Today the MN Broadband Task Force met. They heard from US Rep Angie Craig, LTD Broadband (big winner of federal broadband contract in MN) and NCTA (A cable association – or lots of cable folks on the board anyway.)

I took high level notes:

Update from the Legislature what are folks recommending broadband funding:

  • MN House: $60 million over two years
  • MN Senate: $40 million first year (will be discussed at Ways and Means Committee – Tuesday, April 6, 5:00pm – Remote Hearing by Zoom
  • MN Gov: still talking about $50 million

Update from Angie Craig:

  • “Broadband is not a luxury; it’s is essential 21st infrastructure. If you have broadband you can start a business from anywhere
  • What are challenges? Politics get in the way of good policy. How it gets paid for is a sticking point for infrastructure.
  • What are challenges? Politics get in the way of good policy. How broadband gets paid for is a sticking point for infrastructure – run deficit or long term investment? The problem is people think in 2-yr increments in DC
  • What do you think of fiber? We need to keep an open mind. We need accurate mapping. Just spoke with @fcc – we can invest in mapping and infrastructure.
  • “A danger for broadband support is that many people have signed no-new-taxes commitments. So while they may support broadband no-new-taxes takes priority. Corporate taxes went from 35 percent to 21 percent – we need to look at that.”

Update from LTD

  • The pandemic proved to them that consumers need symmetrical broadband – which is a change from what they said a few years ago.
  • Symmetrical or asymmetrical? COVID and Zoom have taught us that symmetrical matters. In my neighborhood we couldn’t get cable broadband 35Mbps up and that’s what we needed for all the zooms in my house.”
  • “Our fixed wireless #terragraph (mesh is being tested at Gig up and down. We are fans of hybrid; it makes sense to have more than one tool in the toolbox”
  • Q: “We are in an area that had been working on a #BordertoBrder grant but it was booted because of #RDOF.”
    A:”If you need help sooner, let us know. We can’t do it all at once but we can focus.”
  • “We are looking at deploying aerial fiber rather underground in areas like the Iron Range”

Info on networks during the pandemic from NCTA…

  • Chart shows much greater growth in upload than download traffic. Downstream is still greater than upstream but greatest growth is in upstream.
  • COVID-19 increased internet use by 70%, and streaming by more than 12%.
  • “Videoconferencing is less than 5 percent of overall traffic”

Subgroup Updates:

  1. Paul Wertz: Group did not meet since last meeting.  Fixed wireless panel coming up. Working on getting State Demographer
  2. Nolan Cauthen: Group did not meet since last meeting.
  3. Yvonne: Did meet. Working on speakers – such as ARC, Chris Mitchell, State Demographer.

Questions for the State Demographer:

  • Does broadband access impact other data – have they seen changes where broadband has improved?
  • Any stats on broadband access and local average age?

EVENT April 5: Governor’s Task Force on Broadband Meeting

I will attend and plan to livestream on Facebook. Here are the details from the Office of Broadband Development

Governor’s Task Force on Broadband April 5, 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

Or call in (audio only)

+1 763-317-4323,,746852807#   United States, Plymouth

Phone Conference ID: 746 852 807#

Find a local number | Reset PIN

10:00 a.m. – 10:10 a.m. Welcome, Task Force Introductions, Attendee Introductions and Approval of Minutes from March 16, 2021 Meeting

10:10 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. Update on 2021 Legislation (Deven Bowdry, DEED)

10:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Update and conversation with U.S. Rep. Angie Craig

10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.  LTD Broadband – RDOF Introduction with Corey Hauer (Invited) and Haley Tollefson (Confirmed)

11:00 a.m. – 11:10 a.m.  Break

11:10 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. 2020 Network Performance -The Shift to Home and the Impact to Networks with William Check, SVP, Science & Technology and CTO, NCTA and Matt Tooley, VP of Broadband Technology at NCTA

11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.                Subgroup Reports

12:15 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.                Public Comment, Other Business, May Meeting Plans, Wrap-up such as May meeting-specific questions/topics for State Demographer? Also presentation by Fixed Wireless Panel planned.

MN Broadband Task Force Feb 2021 Mtg Notes: Leg updated, Electric Coops and American Connection

The Minnesota Broadband Task Force met online today. I have recorded the session below. It requires quite a MacGuvyer setup, which means the sound quality can be less than perfect but here it is. (I’ll post a picture for your amusement.)

They got an update on various bills that have been introduced in Minnesota:

  • HF686/SF1304 – Existing easements held by rural electric cooperatives to be used to provide broadband service authorization
  • HF14/SF22 – Broadband grant program money transfer deposit authorization ($120M from Senate & House)
  • SF945 – Broadband grant program funds transfer- to be heard in Senate on Wed at 3pm
  • SF946 – Broadband grant program funds transfer ($120M plus $50M for unserved areas and requiring less match)
  • SF1186 – Broadband grant program appropriation

Task Force member Brian Krambeer talked about his work at MiEnergy and how and why a electric cooperative might get into proving service. At a high level the answer is twofold: the infrastructure makes providing services easier and their customers want/need it. As he pointed out, providing broadband is a treat; they are bringing services to people who thought they might have to move to get the broadband they need.

The Task Force heard about the work of American Connection a collaboration of 143 organizations (including Land o’Lakes) committed to promoting:

  • Robust investment in broadband at a federal level
  • Federal coordination of that investment working with state and local resources
  • Better mapping

The have done a lot as corporate citizens to get broadband to rural areas, especially during the pandemic. There membership is responsible for 2,900 free hotspots in 49 states. That night look like Land o’Lakes installing a wifi spot in their parking lot for neighbors to access. One of the things that has surprised them is the lack of rural readiness to react to federal opportunities.

Finally the Task Force talked about how they would work in 2021 and the subcommittees that they would form. Many members were interested in being involved in multiple subcommittees – but learned that when too many join any one committee it triggers the need to adhere to open meeting regulations, which means they would have to invite the public in and at least share notes after the fact. The image below outlines their proposed committees and topics based on response form the last meeting.

 2020 Broadband Task Force Meeting: Plans for 2021

The group heard from the Office of Broadband Development about the MN state grants announced yesterday and sources of federal funding. Then they talked about topics they wanted to address throughout the year.

Big topics:

  • The 2020 Broadband Task Force Report is out.
  • The Governor’s budget includes $50 million for broadband grants in year one.
  • The Office of Broadband Development announced grant recipients yesterday.

You can watch the archive – again, I have quite the MacGyver setup to make this happen so please overlook imperfections in the video and notes taken on an old computer below.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Notes from the day Continue reading

The 2020 Minnesota Broadband Task Force report is out!

The 2020 Minnesota Broadband Task Force report has been posted on the Office of Broadband Development website.

Here’s a quick take from the Executive Summary:

Minnesota’s approach to broadband infrastructure development and deployment is regarded by many as best in class and considered as a model to follow. The key components that make it so successful are the Border to Border grant matching program, the mapping capabilities, the realistic and forward-looking internet speed goals, and the Office of Broadband Development (OBD). To maintain the leadership position Minnesota has created for itself, the Task Force has evaluated the effectiveness of the program and recommends a number of adjustments to ensure continued progress and guarantee that all Minnesotans have access to adequate broadband service in this new digital age.

The Broadband Grant Program should maintain priority on the 157,000 unserved households as they are unlikely to get service without the grant program. After careful review of the estimated cost to serve those households and applicable federal programs, the Task Force has found that it would be best to continue to fund the Broadband Grant Program at a biennial amount of $120 million. The State should fund the Border-to-Border Broadband Grant Program as a part of the base budget each year to ensure continued progress unhindered by surpluses or deficits which have caused inconsistent funding. The Task Force has also determined that all future awards and expenditures must be on service that meets or exceeds the 2026 speed goal of 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload.

And the recommendations:

  • Recommendation #1 Continue to fund the Broadband Grant Program at a biennial amount of $120 million from the base budget each year and ensure that all future expenditures must be on service that meets or exceeds the 2026 speed goal of 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload.
  • Recommendation #2 The Taskforce recommends the Office of Broadband Development receive an appropriation of $700,000 per biennium from the base budget. That figure is OBD’s estimate of funding needed to maintain current operations.
  • Recommendation #3 Create an Office of Broadband operating annual fund of $1.5 million to promote broadband adoption and use and redress digital inequity.
  • Recommendation #4 Given the condensed construction season in Minnesota, it is critical that permits are issued promptly. The state should convene a working group comprised of all state agencies relating to broadband construction permitting to streamline the process, both in time to issue the permits as well as the permit application process.
  • Recommendation #5 There needs to be more oversight of railroad facilities by the Office of Pipeline Safety. Railroads need to be required to locate their own facilities and need to be encouraged to issue permits promptly.

EVENT Jan 29: MN Governor’s Task Force on Broadband

The MN Broadband Task Force is meeting on Friday. Here’s the login info:

January 29 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Click here to join the meeting Or call in (audio only)
+1 763-317-4323,,989314741# United States, Plymouth
Phone Conference ID: 989 314 741#

Here’s the agenda…

10:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.                Welcome, Task Force Introductions, Attendee Introductions and Approval of Minutes from December 18, 2020 Meeting
10:15 a.m. – 10:20 a.m.  Status of 2020 Annual Report
10:20 a.m. – 10:40 a.m.  Office of Broadband Development Update
10:40 a.m. – 11:20 a.m.  Focus for 2021

  • Topics
  • Presenters
  • Meeting Locations (post-virtual meetings)

11:20 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.  Break

11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.  ask Force Organization

  • Subcommittee or Other Structure
  • Assign Topics
  • Assign Task Force Members to Subcommittee or Other Structure

12:15 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.  Public Comment, Other Business, February Meeting Plans, Wrap-up

MN Broadband Task Force meeting: penultimate meeting on the 2020 annual report

Today the MN Broadband Task Force heard from the third subcommittee (Economic Development and Digital Inclusion Subgroup) on their version of the Task Force report – it was a continuation of the last Task Force meeting . This subcommittee has three primary recommendations:

  1. Continue Minnesota’s Border to Border state broadband grant program and fund it from the base budget.
  2. Create an Office of Broadband operating annual fund of $1.5 million to promote broadband adoption and use and redress digital inequity.
  3. Update Minnesota’s broadband speed goals to 100 Mbps/100 Mbps symmetrical service by 2028.

They also had a series of secondary recommendations that lift of recommendations from other committees when their recommendations relate to increasing access/availability of broadband technology or tools.

There was little conversation about the first recommendation or the secondary recommendations. There was discussion about the second goal. There seems to be concern that the Office of Broadband Development might not have staff time for the added work – but the work is already mandated in their job description and the OBD came up with the number. There was quite a bit of discussion on the third recommendation, which led to a discussion on RDOF that I will likely pull out for a separate post over the weekend. The top concerns (on speed, not RDOF) seem to be that houses that currently don’t have 25/3 will be left behind if the speed goal is changed and that policymakers will be confused if the speeds are changed. The counter seems to be that the households that have 25/3 are being left behind too – especially as impacted by COVID and that broadband development is, by its nature, a goal that moves as technology improves. Continue reading

EVENT Dec 18: Governor’s Task Force on Broadband

From the Office of Broadband Development…

Microsoft Teams meeting

Join on your computer or mobile app

Click here to join the meeting

Or call in (audio only)

+1 763-317-4323,,465844792#   United States, Plymouth

Phone Conference ID: 465 844 792#

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Learn More | Meeting options

9– 9:10 a.m.  Welcome, Introductions, Meeting Overview, Approve Meeting Minutes

9:10 – 11:00 a.m. Walk Through Draft of Annual Report

11- 11:10 a.m. Public Comments

11 – 11:30 a.m. Other Business, Next Steps, Wrap-up

EVENT Dec 11: MN Broadband Task Force meeting

This is pretty much a continuation of the last Task Force meeting where they began looking at the draft of the annual report…

Governor’s Task Force on Broadband

December 11, 2020

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Microsoft Teams meeting

Join on your computer or mobile app

Click here to join the meeting

Or call in (audio only)

+1 763-317-4323,,653733982#   United States, Plymouth

Phone Conference ID: 653 733 982#

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12:30 p.m. – 12:40 p.m.                Welcome, Introductions, Meeting Overview

12:40 p.m. – 1:20 p.m.                  Walk Through Economic Development and Digital Inclusion Subgroup Draft for Annual Report

1:20 p.m. – 1:25 p.m.                     Public Comments

1:25 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.                     Other Business, Next Steps, Wrap-up

MN Broadband Task Force Dec 1 2002 – draft annual report and easements for rural electric coops

Today the MN Broadband Task Force got through two of the subcommittee groups report drafts. And they heard from a Discussion of Electric Cooperative Easements for Broadband from MREA (Dan Lipschultz) and (MCCA) Tony Mendoza. It’s interesting to see the focus on a very provider-focused policy detail juxtaposed to discussion of broadband grants, budget and speeds.

The group seemed united in waiting to keep the broadband recommendations high level. There are three subcommittees in the Task Force; each wrote a version or their version of the report including their separate recommendations. One subcommittee went into great detail of their report which spurred discussion from the others. Then there was an interlude on easements. Then the second group gave a very high level look (less than 10 minutes) of their report and the third subcommittee will get an opportunity at another time.

The idea is that the three version will be merged into one and apparently the merging will begin immediately.

You can see it all in the video:

Continue reading

MN Broadband Task Force meeting: notes on the upcoming report

The MN Broadband Task Force spent the morning at the Blandin Foundation Broadband 2020 conference. They spent an extra hour after that meeting mostly discussing the upcoming broadband task force report that they have begun to write.

They showed an outline of the report and each subcommittee reported on their thoughts and work so far – including mention of the various recommendations. There is some agreement, some disagreement and a lot of overlap on the recommendations made by each of the three subcommittees:

  • Digital Inclusion
  • Minnesota Model
  • Barriers to Technology

The big agreement is to ask for more money for future grants. There wasn’t agreement, which may just reflect no discussion, on whether to recommend that for base funding or not.

A big disagreement is updating the speed goals. Some thought they should stay where they are because providers have already been working on grant projects based on those goals. Some thought that the 25/3 goal is realistically obsolete since the next potential round of funding they are seeking is 2022 and the 25/3 speed goal is “by 2022.” Some thought that 25/2 was adequate for one person at home but when you get to two kids in school and at least one parent working from home; those speeds did not suffice.

There are minimal talk about changing the 2026 goal of 100/20. The real focus for proponents is changing the upload speed. Some people pointed out that COVID has shown us that upload speeds matter most for productivity.

Also there was a lot of talk about how to talk about these recommendation to reach consensus. Many people seemed to think that if there was no consensus that they would leave it ASIS.

The next Task Force meeting is scheduled for November 10 – and apparently Governor Walz will be there.

Governor’s Task Force on Broadband Meeting Oct 7: Agenda

The next Broadband Task Force is scheduled during the fall broadband conference Broadband 2020: Connected We Stand. The Task Force will be with the Broadband conference through the morning. Then the conference ends and the Task Force will reconvene at 1:30.

There are a couple ways to approach attending:

Below the agenda from the Office of Broadband Development.

Governor’s Task Force on Broadband

October 7, 2020

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

(Note the 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. portion of the meeting will be held jointly with Blandin Conference

Webex/Conference Call 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.:
Dial-in: 1-619-377-3319 or 1-888-742-5095, Passcode 3249482049

Meeting link:

https://intercall.webex.com/intercall/j.php?MTID=m8cde191bd040cd9db4e9e554c4d5a40d

Meeting Number: 130 631 1709

Password: DEED

 

Joint Meeting with Blandin Foundation Fall Conference: Broadband 2020: Connected We Stand

9:00 a.m. – 9:20 a.m.  Welcome

9:20 a.m. – 10:20 a.m. Border-to-Border Broadband Development Fund Grantee Presentations Hear about how Minnesota broadband grants impacted communities

10:20 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Breakout Sessions with Task Force Subcommittees

10:45 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Report Back and Task Force Thank You

11:00 a.m. — 12:00 p.m. From Digital Infrastructure to Transformation: Leveraging Broadband for Community Economic Development

Roberto Gallardo, Ph.D., Director, Purdue Center for Regional Development; and C&RE Specialist, Purdue Extension, W Lafayette, IN This presentation will discuss some digital applications and uses to help communities leverage this technology to improve their quality of lives.

12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Break

Please join via WebEx (instructions above) for the 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. portion of the meeting:

1:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. Welcome, Task Force Introductions, Attendee Introductions and Approval of Minutes from September 8, 2020 Meeting

1:45 p.m. – 2:20 p.m.  Subgroup Report Out

2:20 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Public Comment, Other Business, November Meeting Plans, Wrap-up

 

EVENT Sep 8: Governor’s Task Force on Broadband

Meeting scheduled for next week…

Governor’s Task Force on Broadband

September 8, 2020

10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. 

Webex/Conference Call

Meeting link:

https://intercall.webex.com/intercall/j.php?MTID=mfb764c7a0d565294c8b248b50dc3d1d2

Dial-in: 1-619-377-3319 or 1-888-742-5095, Passcode 3249482049

Meeting number: 130 177 6750

10:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.  Welcome, Task Force Introductions, Attendee Introductions and Approval of Minutes from August 4, 2020 Meeting

10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. Satellite Communications and Broadcasting Association (SBCA) Steve Hill, Executive Director

11:15 a.m. – 11:20 a.m. Break

11:20 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.  Minnesota Mapping Presentation

Brent Legg and Ashley Hitt, Connected Nation

11:50 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Discussion of Report Writing Process, Assignment of Writers

12:00 p.m. – 12:25 p.m. Subgroup Updates and Identification of Information Needed to Complete Draft Recommendations and Report Content

12:25 p.m. – 12:30 p.m. Public Comment, Other Business, October Meeting Plans, Wrap-up

MN Broadband Task Force August Meeting notes & video

The Task Force met this morning. There is a new member, Jason Hollinday from Fond du Lac. They heard from Minnesota Department of Education Overview on CARES Act Funding for Distance Learning and from a few experts from the Department. The difficulty is balancing the immediate need for infrastructure with investing in infrastructure that will be around and sufficient for the long term. Bernadine Joselyn was able to talk about the ConnectedMN program that augments the federal funding.

The talked about the need to get started writing the annual report and Task Force members expressed an interest in engaging more in broadband activities in and around the state. And each of the subcommittees reported on their mid-meeting discussions:

  • Report out by Minnesota Model Subgroup (Chair: Brian Krambeer; Members: Steve Fenske, Theresa Sunde, Paul Weirtz)
  • Report out by Barriers and Technology Subgroup (Co-Chairs: Marc Johnson, Dave Wolf; Members: Nolan Cauthen, Steve Giorgi, Jim Weikum)
  • Report out by Economic Development and Digital Inclusion Subgroup (Chair: Bernadine Joselyn; Members: Dale Cook and Micah Myers)

 

EVENT Aug 4: Task Force on Broadband agenda & instructions

Online and open to all, here are the details from the Office of Broadband Development

Governor’s Task Force on Broadband

August 4, 2020

10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

 

Webex/Conference Call
Dial-in:
1-619-377-3319 or 1-888-742-5095, Passcode 3249482049

Meeting link:

https://intercall.webex.com/intercall/j.php?MTID=m084c72bdb90f292b59fc021ac3ebd7de

PW: DEED

Meeting Number: 130 292 7338

10:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. Welcome, Task Force Introductions, Attendee Introductions and Approval of Minutes from June 24, 2020 Meeting

10:15 a.m. – 11:10 a.m.  Minnesota Department of Education Overview of CARES Act Funding for Distance Learning Alicia Waeffler, Equity and Opportunity Programs Supervisor

Michael Dietrich, ESEA Policy Specialist

Sara George, ESEA/ESSA Title I Part A Program Specialist

11:10 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.                Break

11:15 a.m. – 11:35 a.m.  Report out by Minnesota Model Subgroup (Chair: Brian Krambeer; Members: Steve Fenske, Theresa Sunde, Paul Weirtz)

11:35 a.m. – 11:55 a.m.  Report out by Barriers and Technology Subgroup (Co-Chairs: Marc Johnson, Dave Wolf; Members: Nolan Cauthen, Steve Giorgi, Jim Weikum)

11:55 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Report out by Economic Development and Digital Inclusion Subgroup (Chair: Bernadine Joselyn; Members: Dale Cook and Micah Myers)

12:15 p.m. – 12:25 p.m. Discussion of Report Writing Process

12:25 p.m. – 12:30 p.m. Public Comment, Other Business, September Meeting Plans, Wrap-up