In 10 years the digital economy grew 5.6% compared to overall economic growth of 1.5%

The Bureau of Economic Analysis just released a report – an inaugural report on the digital economy – Defining and Measuring the Digital Economy.

The working paper set out to do a few things – define the digital economy, measure it and create conversations to move measurement and research forward.

Here are some of the economic highlights from the report:

  • Digital economy real value added grew at an average annual rate of 5.6 percent, outpacing the average annual rate of growth for the overall economy of 1.5 percent
  • In 2016, digital economy real (inflation‐ adjusted) value added totaled $1,302.2 billion, 82.2 percent larger than it was in 2005.
  • During this economic recovery, prices for digital economy good and services decreased at an average annual rate of 0.4 percent (chart 8). Prices for all goods and services in the economy increased at an average annual rate of 1.5 percent.
  • Workers in the digital economy earned average annual compensation of $114,275 compared to the economy‐wide average of $66,498.

The report also set out to define the digital economy. There has been a push for a better way to measure the economic impact of broadband for at least a year. I think this is a good first step. Here’s a brief take on what they did..

Conceptually, a digital economy satellite account should include all goods and services related to the digital economy. However, the preliminary estimates presented here are based on goods and services that are primarily digital. There are numerous challenges to estimating the economic contribution of “partially‐digital” goods and services which are laid out in this report. These challenges are opportunities for future research to expand these early estimates into a complete digital economy satellite account.

They have included things like digital‐enabling infrastructure (hardware, networks) but not peer-to-peer economy such as Uber. So I think there are ways to improve on their definition – but they do too. In fact, they ask for feedback!

West Central Regional Roundtable on Broadband – providers, legislators and community leaders

Back at the regional tour of broadband discussion with Bill Coleman with a stop in Fergus Falls today to talk with the Mid-Minnesota Region. There were 50 people in the room including Rep Jeff Backer, Rep Paul Anderson, Rep Bud Nornes and representatives from Senators Klobuchar and Smith.

It was a good mix in the crowd with folks who knew policy, folks who knew technology and folks who knew they needed better broadband. It was interesting to hear what Otter Tail County has done to ensure that everyone in the county gets broadband in the future. They are working with providers, getting a view of what’s happening and likely to happen with a feasibility study (thanks to support from the Blandin Foundation).

We also got a quick update on policy from the legislators who attended.

Continue reading

Broadband and Cooperatives: A Winning Strategy for Minnesota

Last week a group met to talk about the potential role of cooperatives in bringing broadband to unserved rural areas. Minnesota has always done well with public private partnerships as a tool to expand broadband. There were several cooperative providers in the room, cooperatives who wanted to learn more and potential partners.

We started with a conversation on why Cooperatives and Broadband make sense

  • Members trust their cooperatives
  • Staff member have relationships with members
  • Customer/billing system in place
  • Fleet in place
  • Aerial infrastructure
  • Managed conservatively (cash available)
  • Allowance for longer payback periods
  • Relationship with financial institutions
  • Smart Grid and other internal communications
  • Cooperatives used to work toward reliability and growth. Growth has slowed, which may be an issue in being sustainable so maybe it’s a god time for electric to look at broadband especially if there are partnerships.

Then attendees heard from a number of people – here are the presentations below.

MN Office of Broadband Development Update Q1 2018

SmartGrid Broadband from Barry Electric

CAF II Case Study from Bill Coleman

Broadband Via Cooperatives – Electric and Telecom Partnerships from CNS

Two MN webinars:  Affordable PCs and Internet Access & Building Library-Adult Education-Workforce Partnerships

Looks like two great digital inclusion sessions from the Minnesota Department of Education….

Connect Your Community with Affordable PCs and Internet Access

Interested in helping connect members of your community with affordable personal computers, computer repair, and internet access? Learn how you can partner with PCs for People, an organization that works with businesses, government agencies, and residents to recycle and refurbish computers. Those computers are provided to low-income people, along with support for going online.

Madeline Tate, PCs for People’s Director of Partnerships and Programming, will give an overview of the organization, then describe how you can partner with them to benefit residents of your community. She also will tell us about an exciting pilot program with several rural libraries in Oklahoma.  We’ll have plenty of time for your questions, too.

The webinar will be Tuesday, January 30, from 11-noon Central Time. Follow this link to join the webinar; the call-in number is 1-888-742-5095, conference code 492 064 9083.

Building Library-Adult Education-Workforce Partnerships

Do you want to boost your community’s digital literacy efforts? Or maybe you want insight into how participating in digital literacy programming can translate into better job and educational opportunities for members of your community? Partnerships with library, adult education, and workforce colleagues could be the answer.

Please join us for a webinar with tips for getting the conversation started. The webinar will be Tuesday, February 6, 11-noon Central Time. Click here to access the webinar; the call-in number is 1-888-742-5095, conference code 492 064 9083.

This session will build on two years of Better Together sessions gatherings of library, adult education, and workforce development staff that focused on how collaborative digital literacy efforts can increase communities’ capacity to improve adult literacy and workforce outcomes for Minnesotans. Susan Wetenkamp-Brandt (Minnesota Literacy Council) and I will be the presenters.

Free Blandin Webinar Dec 14: Emerging trends in Minnesota Tele-Health

Please join the session and spread the word…

The Online Health Care Experience
Thursday, December 14 from 3-4 pm
Register Online

Listen and learn what is happening in three of Minnesota’s leading health care networks around the trend towards tele-health.  Care leaders from Essentia, Altru and Allina will discuss the importance of home tele-health care for the delivery of health care to rural communities and residents.  Learn about the importance of tele-health services to the vitality of rural health care providers.  Increase your understanding about the connection between good rural broadband and rural health care. Invite your own local health care providers to join us for this webinar.

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

Welcome to the #MNBroadband Conference 2017

Thanks to CTEP worker Brandon Phan for his notes:

Kevin Mckinnon (DEED)

  • “focus should be on creating opportunities for our communities”
  • Have contributed over $650 million over three grant funds

Tyler Glynn (BLAEDC)

  • Brainerd home to 2,000+ companies
  • Brainerd has already made a commitment from to utilize fiber-optics to support schools, homes, businesses, etc