MN Broadband Task Force Meeting notes: superbowl technology and talk about lowering definition of broadband

The Task Force learned about the ins and outs of the communication technology around the Superbowl. They also heard from a fixed wireless provider. It led to some interesting discussions about the definition of broadband. The fixed wireless provider thought that 25/3 (which is the state goal for broadband by 2022) was too steep a climb because he had customers that were satisfied with lower speeds. That led to other people discussing the definition.

It was an interesting juxtaposition to hear about the huge investments, the 7.2 terabytes of data transferred, and awesome speeds experienced downtown Minneapolis during the Superbowl and the push to lower the definition of broadband in rural areas so that we could get people lower speeds more quickly. Some folks seemed to recognize that would lead to tiered services based on location. And having spent time in the field recently, I have heard folks in rural areas say they want faster speeds because they want to run businesses, do homework and access telehealth options. That is why the Task Force recommended and the legislature put into place state speed goals of 25/3 by 2022 and 100/20 by 2026.

The Task Force also talked about plans for the final report, considering the role of a future Task Force and how to capture the attention of legislators.

Notes from the day: Continue reading

Next MN Broadband Task Force Meeting at Feb 8

I plan to attend and take notes. I will also livestream it if I can and will post here.

Governor’s Task Force on Broadband
February 8, 2018
State Capitol, Room 316
75 Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard
St Paul, MN 55155
10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

  • 10:00 a.m. – 10:10 a.m. Introductions, approval of minutes, public comments
  • 10:10 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. Update from Office of Broadband Development
  • 10:15 a.m. – 10:35 a.m. CenturyLink: Super Bowl Technology Investment Update – Jesse Sullivan, CenturyLink
  • 10:35 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Q&A/Discussion—CenturyLink: Super Bowl Technology Investment Update
  • 10:45 a.m. – 11:05 a.m. AT&T: Super Bowl Technology Investment Update
  • Paul Weirtz , AT&T State President
  • Andy Sackreiter, Director of Engineering, AT&T Minnesota/ Northern Plains
  • 11:05 p.m. – 11:15 a.m. Q&A/Discussion—AT&T: Super Bowl Technology Investment Update
  • 11:15 a.m. – 11:35 a.m. Comcast: Super Bowl Technology Investment Update – Chris Hanna, Engineer, Comcast Business Services
  • 11:35 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Q&A/Discussion—Comcast: Super Bowl – Technology Investment Update
  • 11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Lunch
  • 12:15 p.m. – 12:45 p.m. LTD Broadband presentation – Corey Hauer, LTD Broadband
  • 12:45 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.  LTD Broadband presentation discussion
  • 1:15 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. 2018 topic discussion/work plan
  • 1:45 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. Workgroup formation/meeting
  • 2:15 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. Workgroup report back to Task Force
  • 2:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.  Next meeting and wrap-up

Position open on the Minnesota Broadband Task Force

Steve Lewsader left the Minnesota Broadband Task Force at the end of 2017. That leaves one seat open and they are looking for applications.

Here’s the mission as reported on the Boards & Commissions website

To develop, implement and promote state broadband policy, planning and initiatives to achieve State broadband needs and goals. Inventory, assess and report on various aspects of broadband. Develop a Minnesota Broadband Plan outline.

It looks like they will review applications on Feb 4. The group meetings monthly. Two people have already applied. You can apply directly from the website.

Minnesota Broadband Task Force Report – what Minneapolis Star Tribune and Mankato Free Press are saying

Yesterday I posted about the latest Minnesota Broadband Task Force report. Today I’m reading about it in various publications. Here’s what people are saying…

Minneapolis Star Tribune – Minnesota task force says $35.7 million needed annually to expand broadband

Minnesota spent tens of millions of dollars expanding high-speed broadband internet in recent years, but nearly $1.4 billion in public and private investment is still needed to get access to all households, according to a state task force report. …

The task force’s goal is to connect all of those households by 2022. The $1.4 billion price tag to meet that goal would be covered by a variety of sources, including federal, state and local funding and private companies.

In November, state officials forecast a $188 million budget deficit over the next year and a half. Given that outlook, the task force’s financial request “is a little daunting,” said Kelliher, a DFLer who once served as speaker of the Minnesota House and now is president and CEO of the Minnesota High Tech Association.

The report is a good conversation starter, said Rep. Ron Kresha, R-Little Falls. The next state revenue and expenditure forecast in February will help determine what’s affordable, he said.

“That being said, I think they’re on the right path,” Kresha said of the task force. “Certainly we don’t want to stop the great work we’ve done for rural broadband. And if there [are] any opportunities to continue to expand efforts — whether that’s through policy, funding or innovation — we should do it.”

Mankato Free Press – Broadband Task Force renews push for high-speed access

Bill Otis, president of New Ulm-based NU-Telecom, said rural phone companies like his rely on federal and state grants to help build costly fiber networks.

“We’ve made progress (in adding fiber) but it’s slow without some of the grants. We’ve been involved in grants that allow us to build out to areas that would be economically unreasonable without the grants. And even with the grants, it’s sometimes questionable economically. Getting the fiber out to some of these more remote rural areas can be tough,” Otis said. …

But Otis said those minimum speeds are relatively slow for the growing demands on the internet. “You’d like to say everyone should have 100 (megabits) down and 20 up. And to be perfect you’d have 100 by 100.”

He said that when putting in new lines, having the minimum 25-3 megabit is “underusing your fiber.”

And the demand for more speed is only going to grow as more video content, self-driving vehicles, smart cars, enhanced 911 systems, smart homes and other technology all vie for internet and fiber optic space.

“The projections are for unbelievable, exponential growth in the next five to 10 years,” Otis said.

Minnesota Broadband Task Force – final edit of annual report

The Task Force met today to do the final edit of their MN Broadband Task Force report. I have notes on the specifics below. It helps to follow along with the penultimate draft (Part 1 & Part 2). The focus remains on getting ongoing funding for the Office of Broadband Development and for the Broadband grants – until the state speed goals are met.

Here are their recommendations:

  • Provide $71.482 million in ongoing biennial funding for the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program, until the state achieves its broadband speed goal.
  • Provide the OBD with funding at $250,000 per year in ongoing funding, until the state achieves its broadband speed goal.

The next step is making the changes discussed and moving this toward getting published.

Continue reading

MN Broadband Task Force meets Dec. 7

Here’s the agenda. I plan to attend and will post live video as I can…

Governor’s Task Force on Broadband
December 7, 2017
Minnesota Senate Office Building—Room 2308
95 University Avenue West
St. Paul, MN 55155

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

  • 10:00 a.m. –10:10 a.m.  Introductions, Approval of  Minutes, Public Comments
  • 10:10 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. Office of Broadband Development Update
  • 10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. Review Final Draft of Report
  • 11:15 a.m. – 11:20 a.m. Vote on Approval of Report/Adjourn
  • 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Lunch (Capitol basement)

MN Broadband Task Force Meeting notes: finalizing annual report

Today the MN Broadband Task Force met to tie up loose ends of the upcoming report. They talked a bit about updating the projected cost to get broadband to everyone in Minnesota. With lots of caveats, they came up with a number of $5,527 per passing or a total of almost $1.4 billion to reach all of the unserved households. Again lots of caveats in that math – but it seems to fall in line with the earlier project (from 2010?) that it would cost $1-3 billion to serve unserved areas. Here’s the discussion:

The upcoming report will be an abridged version of earlier reports. Continue reading