Tool Template: Finding the Broadband Internet Service That Works for Your Family

There is a great template for schools (or others) to help you help your students or other folks get the broadband they need. It’s called Finding the Broadband Internet Service That Works for Your Family. My colleague Bill Coleman created it with feedback from Marc Johnson at ECMECC walks folks through better understanding the technology and who to call to get better service or help. You can customize it based on what is available in your community or through your school. So it’ll take a little time to make it most useful but it seems like that there’s someone at your school or office already answering these questions on a regular basis so it might be an easy way to quit reinventing the wheel!

What does 5G look like across the states? (Esp Minnesota)

OpenSignal reports

As U.S. carriers continue to hit new milestones in their 5G network rollouts, Opensignal has now conducted the most comprehensive analysis of smartphone users’ 5G mobile experience across the U.S. We included all 50 states and as many as 250 cities in this new study. While 5G was present to some extent everywhere, the quality of 5G experience varied significantly. Our 5G users on the East Coast generally had a better 5G experience, followed by users on the West Coast and in the Great Lakes region.

They looked at the time users spent with an active 5G connection across the 50 states varied greatly. Minnesota seems to rank well above (or at least slightly above) average:

They also looked at download speed where Minnesota did quite well with a mean download of 88.4 Mbps.

Help flesh out MuniNetworks’ Big List of American Rescue Plan Community Broadband Projects

From the Institute for Local Self Reliance

With the first traunch of American Rescue Plan funds going out to counties and cities earlier this summer, many local leaders have begun to propose projects and seek input from citizens about how they should be used. The American Rescue Plan (ARP) represents an unprecedented amount of money flowing to local governments, but the consequences of operating for more than a year and a half under the burden of the Covid-19 pandemic are such that there seems to be so many things that need attention.

Access to universal, affordable, fast Internet access is among them, but the road from recognizing the need and implementing thoughtful policies is not an equally smooth one for all. Sometimes, a little inspiration is all it takes.

That’s where this page comes in. This is our ongoing list of projects which are under consideration, have been announced, or are under way. Arranged alphabetically by state and organized by whether they are under consideration or are planned, the below are those broadband expansion projects being pursued by cities and counties as they look to expand access via telephone and electric cooperatives, nonprofits, community-owned solutions, or private providers.

This page will be updated in the coming weeks and months, but if you have any corrections, additions, or updates, please email ry@ilsr.org

I am thankful to them for doing this – if you have something to add, please send it their way or send it to me atreacy@treacyinfo.com and I’ll add it here and send it to them.

Here’s what they have for Minnesota…

Planned

The Duluth City Council has approved a plan to spend $12.8 million of the $58.1 million it will receive on infrastructure, including $1 million on broadband. There are no additional details, excepting a line item in a recent press release which says the money could be used to “incentivize broadband providers to the City.”

St. Louis County, Minnesota has earmarked a total of $2 million so far in broadband grant programs aimed at boosting connectivity efforts led by communities in the region. By committing a match, the latter can apply for funds in pursuit of a wide range of planning and development activities. Those grant applications are due in September.

One township already taking advantage of St. Louis County’s grant program is Greenwood, which is pursuing upcoming federal infrastructure dollars along with county funds and considering using some of its own $50,000 in Rescue Plan funds for the local match. Broadband continues to be a primary concern to local leaders, with the township running a broadband survey for residents and businesses right now.

Pew Reports on the Internet and the pandemic: almost half with broadband said they had problems with speed

Pew Research reports…

Results from a new Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults conducted April 12-18, 2021, reveal the extent to which people’s use of the internet has changed, their views about how helpful technology has been for them and the struggles some have faced.

The vast majority of adults (90%) say the internet has been at least important to them personally during the pandemic, the survey finds. The share who say it has been essential – 58% – is up slightly from 53% in April 2020. There have also been upticks in the shares who say the internet has been essential in the past year among those with a bachelor’s degree or more formal education, adults under 30, and those 65 and older.

A large majority of Americans (81%) also say they talked with others via video calls at some point since the pandemic’s onset. And for 40% of Americans, digital tools have taken on new relevance: They report they used technology or the internet in ways that were new or different to them. Some also sought upgrades to their service as the pandemic unfolded: 29% of broadband users did something to improve the speed, reliability or quality of their high-speed internet connection at home since the beginning of the outbreak.

They looked into the impact of the digital divide too…

Some Americans’ experiences with technology haven’t been smooth or easy during the pandemic. The digital divides related to internet use and affordability were highlighted by the pandemic and also emerged in new ways as life moved online.

For all Americans relying on screens during the pandemic, connection quality has been important for school assignments, meetings and virtual social encounters alike. The new survey highlights difficulties for some: Roughly half of those who have a high-speed internet connection at home (48%) say they have problems with the speed, reliability or quality of their home connection often or sometimes.2

Beyond that, affordability remained a persistent concern for a portion of digital tech users as the pandemic continued – about a quarter of home broadband users (26%) and smartphone owners (24%) said in the April 2021 survey that they worried a lot or some about paying their internet and cellphone bills over the next few months.

From parents of children facing the “homework gap” to Americans struggling to afford home internet, those with lower incomes have been particularly likely to struggle. At the same time, some of those with higher incomes have been affected as well.

Affordability and connection problems have hit broadband users with lower incomes especially hard. Nearly half of broadband users with lower incomes, and about a quarter of those with midrange incomes, say that as of April they were at least somewhat worried about paying their internet bill over the next few months.3 And home broadband users with lower incomes are roughly 20 points more likely to say they often or sometimes experience problems with their connection than those with relatively high incomes. Still, 55% of those with lower incomes say the internet has been essential to them personally in the pandemic.

FCC data shows growing fiber, need for upload

C|Net reports

Every six months, the Federal Communications Commission releases updated data on the respective coverage of every internet provider in the US. That includes coverage maps as well as metrics on the types of technologies being used, the number of customers that fall into each provider’s footprint, and the specific upload and download speeds available to those customers, should they choose to sign up. The latest update went live just last week, and brings the database up to date as of June 2020.

I have picked out the charts and notes they share that I think are most interesting…

Percentage of US Population covered by each ISP

  • by the nature of their technology, satellite providers cover a lot.
  • Starlink isn’t on the horizon yet – but this is from June 2020

Percentage of Provider’s Footrpint with access to FTTH

  • Fiber is increasing
  • The problem is that it isn’t available everywhere — for the most part, providers have focused on building out fiber networks in population-dense regions around America’s major cities, leaving rural internet customers out of the mix.

Percentage of provider footprint with access to each (upload) speed via technology

  • Of all of the internet providers that offer service to at least 10% of the US population (including satellite providers omitted from this chart), Verizon is the only one that offers upload speeds faster than 25Mbps to a majority of its customers.
  • upload speeds from most providers remain much slower than most customers would probably like. That’s largely because fiber is really the only mode of home internet capable of hitting triple-digit upload speeds, and as mentioned earlier, fiber is far from universally available.

Access to broadband is credited for drawing in new residents to help boost population

Duluth News Tribune reports on the impact of broadband on population shifts in Northern Minnesota…

The U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday released data showing population changes over the last decade.

As a whole, the 11-county Northland region of Northeastern Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin only decreased slightly, with a combined population of 431,134 on April 1, 2020 — down 171 people from the last Census conducted a decade ago.

As a state, Minnesota saw a population increase of 402,000 residents — up 7.6% — since 2010 while Wisconsin saw nearly 207,000 more residents — a 3.6% increase.

The Northland county with the largest growth as a percentage of population over the last decade came from Cook County, which grew by 8.2%, or 424 people, to 5,600. Bayfield County grew by 8% — from 15,014 to 16,220 over the last decade.

They credit broadband for being a draw…

Mary Somnis, executive director of the Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority, said area real estate agents have been incredibly busy lately and credited the county’s access to “excellent” broadband for drawing people in.

“We have really good broadband and it’s really beautiful here,” Somnis said.

Meanwhile, the largest drop in population came from Koochiching County, which saw its population fall 9.4% — from 13,311 in 2010 to 12,062 in 2020.

It’s worth noting that as of last measure in 2020, Cook County ranking 14th (out of 87) and  Koochinching ranks 59th for broadband access.

Study shows need for upload increased during pandemic – and it’s likely to continue

Gov Tech reports

The voices of Americans seem to make this clear: If government is going to fund broadband infrastructure, it should invest in solutions with higher maximum speeds, particularly upload speeds that have become so critical in the wake of COVID-19.
A recent study, published in the Journal of Information Policy, pushes back against the perspective that the Internet, for the most part, held up “just fine” during the pandemic. Looking at consumer complaints directed to the Federal Communications Commission during the first few months of the pandemic, the study found that Internet complaints jumped up significantly after COVID-19 shut down most of the country.
The study also examines speed data showing that upload speeds in particular suffered until the last quarter of 2020, perhaps due to the increase in use of videoconferencing tools among families working and learning from home.

The track three types of users…

The researchers suggest there are three types of Internet users in America.
“The Internet made it easy for some people to work, go to school, and interact with loved ones safely without leaving their homes,” the article reads. “Those lucky individuals maintained an extraordinary degree of normalcy and safety despite a pandemic that in some regions disrupted nearly every aspect of daily life. At the other extreme were those who normally used the Internet outside the home. Their access to the Internet was severed just when they needed it most … In between were households that did have Internet access, but not at the quality of service that would make all of these activities easy.”

They take a look at what’s happening in Minnesota…

Angie Dickison, executive director of broadband development for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, said inquiries from citizens without broadband at all have remained constant since the onset of the pandemic, but more people than usual have contacted the state about “access to better upload speeds.”
Dickison also noted that the Internet needs of senior citizens have become quite apparent over the last year and a half. She recalled a letter that her office received from an elderly woman.
“Through the pandemic, she was diagnosed with cancer and talked about how important it was for her to have broadband, not just to have access to health care but to stay connected with family and friends,” Dickison said.
To further illustrate the newfound importance of upload speeds, both Ivey and Dickison mentioned the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s interim final rule for spending American Rescue Plan dollars on broadband. The rule states that broadband projects should result in “symmetrical upload and download speeds of 100 Mbps.” If that standard can’t be met immediately, the download speed must still be at least 100 Mbps, and the upload speed must hit 20 Mbps and be scalable to 100 Mbps.

The report itself goes into greater detail and recommendation for policymakers…

These changes also substantially increased Internet traffic. The Internet remained usable under this load, but performance was degraded, primarily for upstream traffic. ISPs were accustomed to carrying streaming video to tens of millions of homes every evening, so there was already capacity to handle much of the downstream traffic for videoconferencing, but not the upstream. That is presumably why upstream data rates at midday fell by roughly a third during the pandemic, and why complaints about speed increased by 176%. These increases were much greater in services that offer highly asymmetric service, for example, 291% for cable and 213% for satellite, whereas the increase for slow but symmetric DSL was just 15%. Today, people tend to focus primarily on the downstream capabilities of Internet services, as if the upstream did not matter. The implications for ISPs are obvious. Even after COVID-19 has been tamed, we will probably see more people working and going to school from home than before the pandemic. To prepare for that possibility, ISPs that offer asymmetric services should reevalu[1]ate their plans for upstream capacity, or risk becoming less competitive. The implications for policymakers are at least as important. When upstream is poor, some of the Internet uses that should be priorities for policymakers are especially impaired. As too many students and parents learned the hard way during the pandemic, upstream capacity is often required for effective distance learning. It is also critical for many tele[1]health applications. For example, the pandemic forced policymakers and insurance companies to allow and pay for mental health services delivered over the Internet. As a result, some rural areas that have been chronically underserved by mental health providers for decades could finally access these services, but effective interactions with a psychologist often require enough upstream capacity for two-way video. Policymakers can help. The FCC defines a service as “broadband” if the downstream is at least 25 Mb/s and the upstream is at least 3 Mb/s. The majority of households that contain people working from home are far better off with a service that is 20 Mb/s down and 20 Mb/s up than a service that is 100 Mb/s down and 3 Mb/s up, but only the latter would meet the FCC’s current definition of broadband. As a result, a company building out infrastruc[1]ture that can offer the service with just 3 Mb/s up is far more likely to obtain government subsidies. If people continue to work from home in significant numbers, as seems likely, the FCC should reduce the down/up ratio in its broadband definition from the current value of 8 to 1. The focus on downstream at the expense of upstream is even more apparent in how Internet services are marketed, especially from ISPs that offer asymmetric services, such as cable companies. If the largest cable pro[1]viders (Comcast, Charter, and Cox) put any information whatsoever about upstream data rates on their websites, we could not find it. Moreover, the customer service representative we spoke to on the phone was happy to tell us the downstream rate of each Internet service his company offered, but was similarly unable to provide any information about upstream. This lack of information has two unfortunate consequences. First, many consumers will unknowingly choose a service that is inferior for their pur[1]poses, even when that inferior service costs more. Second, ISPs have far less incentive to improve their upstream capabilities, because doing so will do little to lure customers away from competitors. Competition drives quality improvement, but only when customers know what they are buying. The FCC could solve this problem simply by changing transparency rules to require ISPs to provide meaningful information about upstream capabilities.

 

A report on the status of broadband in many MN communities from Muninetworks

From Muninetworks (Institute for Local Self Reliance) on their latest report – featuring Minnesota communities…

Our new report, Minnesota Broadband: Land of 10,000 Connectivity Solutions [pdf], showcases the diverse range of approaches communities and local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have taken to expand affordable, high-quality Internet access in Minnesota. It includes a series of case studies that detail how communities are meeting the connectivity challenges of a broken marketplace shaped by large monopoly service providers.

The profiled projects include municipal networks, public-private partnerships, cooperatives, and private investment. They run from the most rural areas of the state to Minneapolis. Some examples include:

  • RS Fiber Cooperative, in south central Minnesota, which has brought fiber to local businesses and town residents. Rural residents benefit from RS Air, a fast wireless service available at affordable prices.

  • Arrowhead Electric Cooperative’s fiber network in Cook County, which succeeded beyond original projections. It provides fast and affordable Internet access to one of the most far-flung parts of the state.

  • St. Louis Park’s partnerships with both ISPs and the builders of large condominium complexes. One of the providers working with St. Louis Park is better known as the fastest ISP in Minneapolis, USI Fiber.

  • Christensen Communications, a 100+ year-old telephone company in south central Minnesota. The company demonstrated a strong commitment to its communities when the pandemic hit, and is now going above and beyond to build fiber with federal subsidies.

  • The Fond du Lac Band, in northern Minnesota, which built a fiber-to-the-home network that is rare in Indian Country.

From my seat is reads a little bit like the high school reunion notes – in the best way. If you’re from one of the communities featured, you’ll want to see what’s happened and is happening in your area. If you’re from an area struggling to get better broadband, check it out and find a community featured that shares characteristics with your community – whether that’s size of makeup of current providers or even just local energy around the issue. Each community is unique but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from what work and what doesn’t with our neighbors.

Here’s a more comprehensive list of the communities included:

Dakota County

  • Scott County
  • Carver County
  • Anoka County
  • Le Sueur County
  • City of Buffalo
  • City of Chaska
  • City of Windom (and area)
  • City of Monticello
  • Cook County
  • Lake County
  • Chisago County
  • Lac qui Parle County
  • City of St Louis Park

And a few providers:

  • Paul Bunyan Communications
  • Christensen Communications
  • Renville-Sibley Fiber Coop
  • USI Fiber

Making the case for ongoing telehealth: the flu is contagious

Minneapolis Star Tribune reports…

Visiting a doctor’s office after a patient with flu-like illness appears to be a risk for getting sick, according to University of Minnesota research that could have implications for infection control and the use of online visits for primary care.

Researchers from the U, Harvard University and athenahealth, reviewed electronic medical records for 6,709 U.S. primary care clinics in 2016 and 2017 and found that people who visited their clinics the same day after patients with flu-like illnesses were more likely to return within two weeks with their own respiratory ailments.

The risk is only slight, as the rate of post-visit illnesses was 2.9 per 1,000 in people who visited clinics the same day after flu patients, compared with 2.2 per 1,000 in patients who visited clinics before flu patients. However, lead author Hannah Neprash said the nearly 32% difference in the rates was significant and provided some of the first documented evidence that clinics can be infection sources for patients — not just hospitals.

Seems like a good reason to promote continued telehealth, especially with folks with flu-like (or pandemic symptoms)…

Doctor visits in the study occurred well before the declaration in early 2020 of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Neprash said lessons learned in the pandemic could likely address the causes of infections in clinics. Mask-wearing in clinics could be one solution along with the continued use of telehealth services for basic primary care when appropriate.

“Maybe some of it should stick around even after we emerge from the pandemic,” Neprash said.

CWA says Lumen (CenturyLink) is making the digital divide worse

Communications Workers of America in partnership with National Digital Inclusion Alliance have released a new report (Lumen’s Digital Disparity: Underinvestment in Infrastructure Discriminates Against Lower-Income, Rural, and Native American Customers) that does not paint a rosy picture of Lumen (CenturyLink) or for their customers. Here’s the executive summary…

Lumen Technologies (formerly known as CenturyLink) is making the digital divide worse and failing its customers and workers by not investing adequately in the essential fiber optic buildout that is the standard for broadband networks worldwide. An analysis of Lumen’s network in states where the company has more than 100,000 households in its service area, interviews with Lumen technicians, and reports by customers in Lumen’s service area show that its service in large parts of its footprint is below the Federal Communications Commission’s broadband definition of 25/3 Mbps and demonstrates Lumen’s failure to build fiber to much of its service area.

  • Thirty-nine percent of households in Lumen’s footprint do not have access to speeds that meet the FCC’s definition of broadband.
  • This underinvestment is especially devastating for rural communities, which make up more than half (57%) of the counties in the Lumen footprint and struggle with access to essential broadband services.
  • The median income for households with fiber available is 12 percent higher than in areas with DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) service only. The median income of households with access to fiber is $62,649, while the median income of households with only access to DSL is $56,123.
  • The company targets wealthy areas – 42 percent of households with access to fiber are in census blocks with median incomes above $75,000 – while leaving behind lower income areas, with only 7 percent of Lumen’s fiber network in census blocks with median incomes below $35,000.
  • In counties with higher populations of Native Americans (more than 25% of households) only about 5.2 percent have access to fiber-to-the-home service and 50 percent only have DSL access. This analysis uses data submitted by Lumen to the FCC as part of its mandatory semi-annual Form 477 reports. Due to data collection issues the FCC has only recently addressed, Form 477 data show an overly optimistic representation of Lumen’s network.2 For example, the Form 477 data show over 8 million households in the Lumen footprint have fiber-to-the-home broadband service available to them, while Lumen’s first quarter 2021 earnings report indicates the company only has 2.5 million “fiber-enabled” households. The disparity in Lumen’s network deployment may be significantly worse than reported to the FCC.

And notes about their service in Minnesota…

Minnesota

% of Lumen network without fiber access: 46%

% of Lumen network that does not meet FCC broadband standard: 35%

% of rural households that do not meet FCC broadband standard: 54%

Average income of fiber-enabled households: $75,774

Average income of households with only DSL: $56,538

That certainly colors the news that Lumen has sold much of their business in 20 states, not including Minnesota.

MN ranks 30th for broadband for students

Clayton Daily News reports

HeyTutor used the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, released on May 5, 2021, to rank the states according to which ones have the best internet access. The 50 states and Washington D.C. are ranked by the percentage of households that responded as “always” having internet availability for education purposes. Ties are broken by the percentage of households that responded as “usually” having internet availability for education purposes.

Each state also includes information on general computer availability in the household, as well as who pays for the internet and whether internet services are available in the home. Note that households that said they “rarely” or “never” have internet or computer availability were not included in this article, but they are part of the total percentage of households surveyed.

Minnesota ranked 30th; here are the reasons…

#30. Minnesota

– Internet availability for education purposes:

— Always: 79.6%; Usually: 17.4%; Sometimes: 0.1%

– Computer availability for education purposes:

— Always: 84.4%, Usually: 12.4%, Sometimes: 0.8%

– Who pays for education-related internet service:

— Household or family: 96.6%; Child’s school or school district: 0.3%; Another source: 0.6%; Internet services not available in home: 0.5%

About 3% of Minnesota’s students didn’t have internet access when schools went online in spring 2020. That number increases to 17% of families in rural communities around the state.

Wisconsin looks at failed history of federal funding for broadband

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel does a nice job detailing the illustrious history of federal funding for broadband over the past few Administrations. The title of the article says it all…

With poor data, deficient requirements and little oversight, massive public spending still hasn’t solved the rural internet access problem

There isn’t a lot new in the summary but it’s a good and succinct account, starting with the stories of people who have been waiting for decades for the federal funds to trickle down to deploy broadband to their homes and including lots of good details, facts and figures. They boil the issue to a few high level points: inadequate mapping of the problem and minimal requirements and even less administration.

The need…

The Federal Communications Commission has said that nationwide around 14 million people lack access to broadband, also known as high-speed internet. However, the firm Broadband Now, which helps consumers find service, estimates it’s closer to 42 million. And although Microsoft Corp. doesn’t have the ability to measure everyone’s actual internet connection, the tech giant says approximately 120 million Americans aren’t using the internet at true broadband speeds of at least 25-megabit-per-second downloads and 3 Mbps uploads — a further indication of how many people have been left behind.

The attempts so far…

None of the efforts under any of the administrations succeeded, and some of the reasons were fairly straightforward. The data on who has broadband  — and who doesn’t  — has been flawed. Some of the upgrades quickly became obsolete. There’s been limited accountability.

“We have given away $40 billion in the last 10 years … and haven’t solved the problem,” said Tom Wheeler, who was FCC chairman in Obama’s administration. “I always thought the definition of insanity was doing things the same way over and over and believing that, somehow, something will change.”

And so the digital divide, which some say has become a chasm, remains.

And the funders having little to say about who gets service…

Under the Connect America Fund requirements, grant recipients had a great deal of latitude in where they deployed upgrades. They were allowed, for example, to bypass thinly populated sections of rural counties and make up the difference in other CAF II-eligible areas that had more customers.

It’s really hurt places like Price County, according to Hallstrand, who says the government subsidies should be used to cover the areas most in need of better service before the money’s spent in other places.

“That’s how rural America gets broadband,” he said.

In one rural Wisconsin county after another, Connect America Fund II has left a trail of skepticism and frustration. Many communities have initiated their own broadband expansion projects, seeking state grants and local partnerships, because they haven’t seen much help from the federal government and big-name service providers.

OPPORTUNITY: Statewide Telecommuting Survey from UMN Extension

University of Minnesota is working on research related to telecommuting. Their work is important in helping us understand what we need and want in Minnesota to make best use of broadband. Help them help all of us by taking their survey…

“Have you wondered about Minnesota employers’ and workers’ experience of telecommuting before, during, and after the COVID-19 pandemic? The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) is wondering the same, which is why MnDOT is partnering with the University of Minnesota Tourism Center on a research project to find out! And now, the project needs your help.

Make your and your organization’s experience count by completing the worker survey and the employer survey. Forward the survey links to your colleagues and friends, so their voices can be heard, too! All these contributions are vital to the project and much appreciated.

Mayo’s video visits up 5000 percent but how does that impact Rochester’s local economy?

The Post Bulletin reports

“We’re currently touching, caring for more patients on a given day now than they were pre-pandemic when you add in telemedicine activities, plus the patients coming on site for care here,” said Dr. Steve Ommen, a cardiologist and the medical director for experience products for Mayo Clinic’s Center for Digital Health.

Video visits skyrocketed more than 5,000% from 278 visits in February 2020 to 16,532 in December at Mayo Clinic-Rochester. Phone telemedicine visits also soared from 169 to 7,590 in the same timeframe, peaking at 24,670 visits in April 2020.

A looming question remains: How will this affect Rochester’s economy when much of the downtown and the largest private-public economic partnership in state history has been built with the presumption that many of Mayo’s patients will be visiting the city in person?

Sounds like the local economic developers aren’t too worried…

Holly Masek, executive director of the Rochester Downtown Alliance, said her team hasn’t specifically studied how telehealth use could affect the downtown. The general consensus is that there are enough patients traveling to Rochester for extended stays and more specialized care that businesses will not see a significant decrease in income because of telemedicine use.

There are pluses and minuses with remote working too…

Fewer Mayo Clinic employees are working downtown than before the pandemic, though telemedicine certainly can’t be pinpointed as the sole cause of this shift.

“Approximately 2,900 staff who were previously based in downtown Rochester will now work off campus a majority of the time,” Mayo Clinic spokeswoman Ginger Plumbo said to the Post Bulletin’s Jeff Kiger in early July. “This number evolved as Mayo Clinic continued to assess the workforce beyond the initial group of non-clinical administrative staff.”

The number went up from the 1,500 figure Mayo Clinic reported in October 2020.

It looks like the Mayo, more than the city, will need to look at the impact…

Preliminary studies from other healthcare institutions across the country provide a picture into how telemedicine use affects revenue. An April 2021 study by the Department of Orthopaedics at the University of Pennsylvania found that the adoption of telemedicine services resulted in just a -.8% hit to the department’s revenue.

“Given that the nation’s health systems are operating on thin margins amid rising payment and cost pressures, the findings of our study underscore the need for thoughtful examination to ensure telemedicine is used and supported effectively and sustainably,” read the study.

Legislative changes makes it easier to offer and afford telehealth…

Legislation passed in June 2021 as part of the Health and Human Services bill made these changes part of law, not just part of the emergency powers declaration.

For Mayo Clinic campuses in Arizona and Florida, the number of patients receiving care via telemedicine may differ. Arizona recently passed similar protections to Minnesota, while Florida rolled back telehealth regulations passed during the pandemic.

Even if Mayo Clinic’s bottom line isn’t greatly affected by telemedicine use, the patient’s pocketbook may be.

A 2014 study found that the average estimated cost of a telehealth visit is $40 to $50 compared to average cost of $136 to $175 for in-person acute care.

Minnesota legislation regulates the cost of telemedicine services to not surpass what the in-person cost would be.

Fiber Broadband Association Announces New Industry Research Advisory Program to Quantify and Qualify Impact of Fiber Broadband on People, Places and Communities

Fiber 2021 Connect is happening this week and with it come exciting announcements from the Fiber Broadband Association, including their New Industry Research Advisory Program…

Today at Fiber Connect 2021, the Fiber Broadband Association (FBA) announced it has created the Research Advisory Program, a new independent research organization led by former Gartner Principal Analyst Deborah Kish to quantify and qualify the economic, societal and community impact of fiber broadband in the U.S. and Latin America. The FBA launched three new white papers including The Market Has Spoken, The Future of Work and Fiber is the Fundamental Technology for 21st Century Communications with plans for additional original survey-based research and qualitative summaries, partner-based research, technical analysis and member-sponsored white papers.

“Fiber is the foundation of the 21st century digital economy. This decade brings unprecedented opportunity for investment, deployment and technology innovation as fiber networks bring more for homes, business, people and a wide array of advanced devices into the Gigabit Economy,” said Gary Bolton, President and CEO of the Fiber Broadband Association. “Fiber broadband has proven to have an immediate and long-lasting impact on communities across North America and the Fiber Broadband Association, with its broad membership mix of operators, vendors, integrators and communities, is well positioned to deliver the resources and information the industry needs to make informed decisions.”

The research will be centered with the FBA’s Technical Community, leveraging some of the FBA’s member companies’ brightest technical minds to examine the critical issues the fiber industry faces today as it looks to provide robust broadband services to all Americans. It will also look to partner with other industry groups, as the FBA did with The Future of Work white paper created in partnership with the Fiber Council Global Alliance and the Starlink: RDOF Assessment developed in partnership with NCTA, for survey-based original quantitative-based research.

Since inaugurating the program, the FBA Research Advisory Program has delivered its first slate of original research, technical white papers, market summaries and educational webinars. These include:

“I’ve been fortunate to watch several markets develop and grow in my role as a senior research analyst and the current opportunity is unprecedented in terms of its potential impact on people’s lives today and for generations to come,” said Deborah Kish, Vice President of research and director of the Fiber Advisory Research Program. “The research we have underway will not only deliver the facts, figures and insight the industry needs to move forward in a way that creates true digital equity for everyone but provide actionable advice for our all our members.”

For more information about the FBA’s Fiber Advisory Program, or to inquire about becoming involved in the program as part of a technical peer review program, sponsoring or partnering new research, please contact Deborah Kish.