Should MN PUC look at revoking LTD Broadband’s expanded ETC? They are asking you!

Last week I noted that MN industry associations (MTA and MREA) are asking the MN PUC (Public Utilities Commission) to revoke LTD Broadband’s ETC designation. If you have an opinion, especially if you have firsthand experience as a customer or otherwise, the PUC would like to know what you think. Should they initiate proceedings to look into it?

Why is it happening? Because a year ago, LTD qualified to apply for large amounts of federal funding (RDOF) to deploy fiber to the home in Minnesota (and other states) and many are wary of their ability to successfully deploy a FTTH network. And right now, the areas where they have applied are stuck in a limbo of dibs; because they might get this RDOF federal funding, they are disqualified for other options.

What does this mean? An entity must have ETC designation to qualify for RDOF. Therefore, a revoked ETC designation would impact RDOF eligibility. That would mean, LTD may no longer qualify for the RDOF funding.

Again the PUC is asking Minnesota residents what they think – especially if you have (or might have in the future) firsthand experience with LTD Broadband.

Here’s the info on the comment period and process (There’s more in the PDF.)…

NOTICE OF COMMENT PERIOD
Issued: May 11, 2022

In the Matter of the Petition of LTD Broadband, LLC to Expand its Designation as an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier

In the Matter of a Petition to Initiate a Proceeding to Revoke the Expanded Eligible Telecommunications Carrier (“ETC”) Designation of LTD Broadband, LLC (“LTD”) and Deny LTD’s Funding Certification for 2023

PUC Docket Number(s): P-6995/M-21-133

P-558, P-6995/M-22-221

Comment Period:
Initial comment period closes June 1, 2022 at 4:30pm
Reply comment period closes June 8, 2022 at 4:30pm
Comments received after the close of the comment period may or may not be considered by the Commission.

Issue: Should the Commission initiate a proceeding to develop a record to determine whether LTD Broadband’s expanded ETC designation should be revoked?

Topic(s) Open for Comment:
• Should the Commission initiate a proceeding to consider revoking LTD Broadband LLC expanded ETC designation, which was granted in the Commission’s June 3, 2021, Order Approving Petition for ETC Designation in Certain Census Blocks, and address LTD’s certification for Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) funding in 2023?
• If the Commission initiates a proceeding: – Should the proceeding be conducted as an expedited proceeding under Minn. Stat. §237.61? – Should the matter be referred to the Office of Administrative Hearing (OAH) for a contested case proceeding pursuant to Minn. Rule 7829.1000? or – Some other procedure?
• If the Commission uses an expedited proceeding, should the Commission designate a lead Commissioner or a sub-committee of Commissioners under Minn. Stat. §216A.03 subd. 8 or 9? And should this proceeding include a cross-examination of parties?
• Should the Commission adopt one of the schedules proposed by the petitioners? Or a schedule proposed by one of the other parties? Or delegate scheduling to the designated lead commissioner, subcommittee of commissioners, or administrative law judge (ALJ)?
• Should the Commission order LTD to submit its FCC RDOF long form application to the Commission?
• Are there other issues or concerns related to this matter?

Background
On June 3, 2021, the Commission issued an Order that expanded LTD Broadband’s (LTD) ETC designation to include approximately 102,000 additional locations in Minnesota (“LTD Expansion Order”). LTD sought that designation to qualify for $311 million in support under the federal Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (“RDOF”) to build and operate a fiber-to-the-premise (“FTTP”) broadband network in Minnesota.

On May 6, 2022, the Minnesota Telecom Alliance (MTA) and Minnesota Rural Electric Association (MREA) jointly submitted a petition under Minn. Stat. § 216A.05 subd. 5 to initiate a proceeding to revoke the expanded eligible telecommunications carrier (ETC) designation of LTD and deny LTD’s certification for 2023. The petitioners believe that newly available facts show that LTD cannot meet the extensive commitments it made to qualify for RDOF funding for approximately 102,000 locations in Minnesota.

Filing Requirements: Utilities, telecommunications carriers, official parties, and state agencies are required to efile documents using the Commission’s electronic filing system (eFiling). All parties, participants, and interested persons are encouraged to use eFiling at: https://www.edockets.state.mn.us/EFiling

Full Case Record: See all documents filed in this matter on the Commission’s website at: mn.gov/puc/edockets, select Go to eDockets Project Database, enter the year (21) and the docket number (133), and select Search.

Subscribe: To receive email notification when new documents are filed in this matter visit: https://www.edockets.state.mn.us/EFiling and select Subscribe to Dockets. Questions about this docket or Commission process and procedure?

Contact Commission staff, Marc Fournier, at Marc.Fournier@state.mn.us or 651-201-2214 or Sally Anne McShane, at Sally.Anne.McShane@state.mn.us or 651-201-2224.

MRBC gives CALL TO ACTION: House Lowers Broadband Funding to $25 Million

From the Minnesota Broadband Coalition…

The House Ways and Means Committee lowered broadband funding from $100 million to $25 million in a hearing yesterday afternoon. The move was made following the committee’s adoption of the Budget Resolution, better known as budget targets. This resolution was set by House leadership and not committee chairs or rank and file representatives. The budget resolution only allowed $25 million in spending for broadband.
Rep. Rob Ecklund had no choice but to accept an amendment to his bill that reflects the new budget target of $25 million. “I’m not real thrilled with the amendment,” Rep. Ecklund said when asked of his thoughts during the committee hearing. The broadband bill was amended onto the Agriculture, Housing, and Broadband Omnibus Bill, HF 4366. This allows the House and Senate Agriculture omnibus bills to match up for a future conference committee.
While we are glad the House is proposing additional funding, $25 million is not enough to keep us on track to meet our statutory speed goals and is much less than what could be done given the state has a $9 billion budget surplus. We are asking you to write to your elected officials, including House Speaker Melissa Hortman and Majority Leader Ryan Winkler. Tell them why broadband funding is important to your community and ask that they restore the House’s broadband funding position to $100 million.
Remember to always be respectful and courteous in your messages to elected officials and their staff, even if you disagree with their position!
You can use the Who Represents Me? tool to find your state elected officials’ contact information. Contact information for the Speaker and Majority Leader is as follows:
Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman
rep.melissa.hortman@house.mn
(651) 296-4280

Majority Leader Ryan Winkler
rep.ryan.winkler@house.mn
(651) 296-7026

MN House Committee moves two broadband bills rereferred to Ways and Means

Today the MN House House Industrial Education and Economic Development Finance & Policy Committee addressed two bills:

  • HF 14 (Ecklund) Broadband grant program money deposit transferred.
  • HF 4375 (Ecklund) Commissioner of employment and economic development required to prepare and submit federal fund application, and money appropriated.

Both bills as amended were unanimously rereferred to Ways and Means.

You can see the session below – it was the first topic raised. Or read the notes from the session.

(I will change this video once the archive is available, versus the live link available March 30)

Why two broadband bills? To increase the odds that a broadband bill separate from other bills moved to the Governor.

Representative Ecklund offers three amendments to the request for $100 million for broadband grants:

  • Raises cap to $10 million
  • Higher match to 75 percent
  • Office of Broadband should report back on impact of changes to grant match and cap.

Testimony:

From Brent Christensen at MN Telecom Alliance

  • Raising cap to $10 million only if $100M comes to grants. Otherwise recommend a caveat that says no one project can get more than 10 percent of funding.
  • Concerned about higher match requirement. Prefer a limit on grants with lower grant match.

From Brian Kranbeer – MiEnergy

  • Supports $110 in grants
  • Supports $10 million cap in grants and lower match especially if state gets $100 million.

Ida Rukavina – RAMS

  • Supports bill and amendments.
  • Tells stories of costs to get broadband for communities in Northern MN

Nathan Zacharias – MN Rural Broadband Coalition

  • Supports bill and amendments.

Comments/questions:

Rep Bliss: I want fiber to everyone but I hear the supply chain is slow. And I doubt the ability of providers to get this done.
MTA: We are adapting to the environment. I Have heard there is a 72 week wait on fiber but many folks have ordered ahead. That explains the need for no spend-by date. We can do it but it will take longer.

Rep Bliss: Can you do conduit then add fiber?
MTA: Yes

Rep Bliss: With a big lump of money, do you think we’ll get people who bid without qualifications? I’d be happy with $40 million a year for many years
MTA: That funding sounds right. Multiple years does allow us to better plan. The Office of Broadband Development does a great job and they have been the gatekeeper for best use of funds.
Rep Bliss: Concern that $100 million will close the purse strings in future. Let’s not let that happen.

Rep Kiel: Why isn’t the funding available yet?
MN Broadband Coalition: The State has applied; they are waiting for approval from the Fed Treasury.

Angie Dickison from Office of Broadband Development (OBD): Yes, we applied in January and we’re waiting approval. This process has cost us one construction season – so far. We were unable to to dole out grants last year. General funds give us flexibility and provide a bridge as we wait for federal funding.

Rep MacDonald: How much federal COVID money has been used?
OBD: States can use federal funding; none has been used in MN yet. Last week, Wisconsin announced $200 million in federal funding for broadband.
Rep MacDonald: I’d like to give some of that funding back to the Feds. My dad was a legislator as well.

Rep Kiel: If we have funds for fiber but want to get higher speeds can we?
MTA: We like to focus on least served areas.

Rep Lislegard: Thanks to Rep Ecklund

EVENT March 31: Next Steps for Capital Projects Fund Broadband Program

Looks like a great session from SHLB

The $10 billion Capital Projects Fund (CPF) is in full swing. The U.S. Treasury Department has already started receiving and reviewing state grant plans, while other states are still preparing their submissions. One key question for all states is how anchor institutions will factor into these plans, especially considering CPF’s relative flexibility. Join us for a discussion with Treasury’s CPF director and state broadband leaders covering the CPF process, how states’ plans are coming together, how they complement anticipated Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program investments, and the role of anchors in connecting their communities. Additional speakers to be announced.

To close the digital gap, we need a connectivity baseline, better outreach and continued funding

Benton Institute for Broadband & Society carefully maps out their reasoning for recommending that policymakers keep the following in mind when using the newfound influx of funds to help close the digital gap caused by affordability issues…

To ensure that the market for universal connectivity is well-functioning, policymakers should:

  • Establish a “connectivity baseline” for Lifeline: Having both wireline and wireless data is the norm for a majority of Americans and that is the goal on which policymakers should set their sights. Policymakers should also consider service speeds for plans offered in connection with the Affordable Connectivity Program. Low-income households should not have internet speeds that do not support applications necessary for working from home, distance education or telehealth.
  • Fund outreach and communications: Survey data shows that just 23% of lower-income Americans (as of July 2021) were aware of the Emergency Broadband Benefit program, underscoring the need for outreach. The newly passed infrastructure bill allows the FCC to conduct such outreach and the Build Back Better spending bill would allocate $100 million for outreach efforts through the FCC.
  • Provide a reliable funding stream: The current contribution method for the Universal Service Fund is strained. By law, there must be specific, predictable and sufficient Federal and State mechanisms to preserve and advance universal service including Lifeline. The infrastructure bill requires that the FCC develop a plan to reform universal service, that does not diminish its goals while possibly asking Congress to expand them. Funding these goals must be part of this plan.

Also something they mention – we need to make it easy for folks to access the funds they need. I just got a booster shot, an hour ago, because I happened to be at the Mall of America walking with my dad and I noticed they had walk-up shots. This was after my mom spent 30 minutes trying to get me an appointment a national pharmacy; they asked one too many questions and she timed out.

I happened to be in the right place at the right time. Otherwise the deluge of information on commercial websites and dearth of info on government/community sites combined with everyone’s horror stories on social media clouds ability to see what we need – and getting a shot is easy compared to choosing a broadband solution. We can’t let the paperwork be the barrier.

2021 MN Tribal Nation Broadband Profiles

Earlier this year, the Office of Broadband Development published broadband maps and rates for tribal nations in Minnesota. I have created tribal nation profiles, similar to the county profiles I have done in the past.

Below are profiles of the communities that have maps followed by percent of households with access to 100 Mbps down and 20 up.


Here’s a comparison of those communities looking at mapping from 2021 and 2019.

Access to Fixed, Non-Mobile Broadband
Name %Broadband (25/3) 2021 %Broadband (25/3) 2019 %Broadband (100/20) 2021 %Broadband (100/20) 2019
Bois Forte Reservation 65.36 20.12 0 0.00
Fond du Lac Res 83.81 30.96 66.4 19.5
Grand Portage 94.24 94.24 94.24 94.24
Leech Lake 95.15 91.68 78.99 65.01
Lower Sioux 100 100 90.24 77.12
Mille Lacs 76.41 60.51 72.54 60.46
Prairie Island 100 100 50.24 50.59
Red Lake 99.82 99.81 99.82 99.81
Shakopee Mdewakanton 100 50 100 50
Upper Sioux 100 100 47.58 0
White Earth 89.96 84.67 89.96 84.67

And finally data on all of the areas. Maps are only created for the areas in red below, subsequently those are the areas with profiles. (Most of the other categories are not geographically defined.)

Name Households (2010 es) Percent Fixed, Non-Mobile Broadband (25/3) Percent Broadband (100/20) Percent Wireline Broadband (25/3) Percent Wireline Broadband (100/20)
Bois Forte Reservation 294 65.36 0.00 65.36 0.00
Bois Forte Reservation Off-Reservation Trust Land 26 33.54 0.00 33.54 0.00
Fond du Lac Off-Reservation Trust Land 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Fond du Lac Reservation 1530 83.89 66.44 80.13 66.44
Grand Portage Off-Reservation Trust Land 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Grand Portage Reservation 257 94.24 94.24 94.24 94.24
Ho-Chunk Nation Off-Reservation Trust Land 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Leech Lake Off-Reservation Trust Land 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Leech Lake Reservation 3930 95.15 78.99 95.15 78.99
Lower Sioux Indian Community 134 100.00 90.24 68.62 68.43
Mille Lacs Off-Reservation Trust Land 41 19.20 0.00 19.20 0.00
Mille Lacs Reservation 1882 76.44 72.54 76.44 72.54
Minnesota Chippewa Trust Land 1 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00
Prairie Island Indian Community 62 100.00 50.24 50.24 50.24
Prairie Island Off-Reservation Trust Land 21 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00
Red Lake Reservation 1757 99.82 99.82 99.82 99.82
Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community 116 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00
Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Off-Reservation Trust Land 189 100.00 100.00 99.99 98.60
Upper Sioux Community 48 100.00 47.58 70.83 0.00
Upper Sioux Off-Reservation Trust Land 1 100.00 100.00 0.00 0.00
White Earth Off-Reservation Trust Land 11 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00
White Earth Reservation 3529 89.96 78.24 89.96 78.24

 

Bois Forte Reservation Broadband Profile: No access to 100/20

Code: Yellow
Population: 294
(See Blandin Foundation interactive map)

Bois Forte Reservation has seen an increase in broadband access of 25 Mbps down and 3 up since last mapping. They have seen nothing in access to 100/20.

Access to Fixed, Non-Mobile Broadband
Name %Broadband (25/3) 2021 %Broadband (25/3) 2019 %Broadband (100/20) 2021 %Broadband (100/20) 2019
Bois Forte Reservation

65.36

20.12 0

0.00

Bois Forte has been working on better broadband through the IRBC program with IRRR and the Blandin Foundation as part of the Grizzlies, which include Bois Forte, Orr and Cook. Through that program, Bois Forte Tribal Government received Border-to-Border Broadband grant funding to connect ten unserved and 468 underserved locations throughout four sectors of the Bois Forte Reservation. Those upgrade must not yet show up on the maps and data. But it will make a difference and should means an increase in access to 100/20 speeds. 

Through IRBC, the community has also been making wireless available in public places around the community (learn more) it and they are working on programming to encourage use, such as a youth sports website.

Normally I would be concerned to see improvement to adequate access because it can dull the drive for better broadband for all in the long run and access to 25/3 will likely not meet long term needs, especially if residents stay or return to work, school and healthcare access online. Here I’m optimistic that the work with the Blandin Foundation will keep people focused and that the next mapping will highlight the impact of the 2020 Border to Border grant.

(get 2020 map)

Key:

  • Served: Green
  • Underserved: Purple
  • Unserved: Pink

I am doing the annual look at broadband in tribal areas – based on maps from the Office of Broadband Development and news gathered from the last year. I’m looking at progress toward the 2022 (25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up) and 2026 (100 Mbps down and 20 Mbps up) and will code each:

  • Red (yikes)
  • Yellow (warning)
  • Green (good shape)

2021 MN Broadband Day Three: Now What? Regional Gatherings Report Out: Next steps for Minnesota’s regions

Now What? Regional Gatherings Report Out: Next steps for Minnesota’s regions
Building on the regional report-outs from Days One and Two, broadband champions discuss what we can do together to organize for better broadband for all, elected officials respond, and everybody weighs in on next steps.

  • Jim Retka, Northwest RDC & Antonio Franklin, Headwaters RDC – Northwest & Headwaters: Regions 1, 2
  • Whitney Ridlon, MN Dept of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation – Arrowhead: Region 3 minus Aitkin County
  • Greg Wagner, West Central Initiative Foundation – West Central: Region 4
  • Michelle Marotzke, Mid-Minnesota Development Commission – Upper MN Valley, Mid-Minnesota, and Southwest: Regions 6W, 6E, 8
  • Lezlie Sauter, Pine County EDA – East Central: Region 7E plus Aitkin County
  • Laura Kangas, Arvig – Central: Region 7W
  • Brenda Johnson, Southeastern MN League of Municipalities – Southeast & South Central: Regions 9, 10

Continue reading

2021 MN Broadband Day Three: Reflections on “Farm Fresh Broadband: The Politics of Rural Connectivity”

Dr. Christopher Ali, Associate Professor of Media Studies, University of Virginia
Introduced by Adrianne B. Furniss, Executive Director, Benton Institute for Broadband & Society

In his new book, Professor Ali offers an analysis of the failure of U.S. broadband policy to solve the rural–urban digital divide and a proposal for a building a better broadband future. Ali will describe what it would look like to create a multistakeholder system, guided by thoughtful public policy and funded by public and private support.


Chat from session:

Christopher Ali

09:38:39 From  Bernadine Joselyn (she/her)  to  Everyone: and not only because of his fabulous haircut!

09:44:53 From  Mary Ann Van Cura  to  Everyone: I know where that green giant statue is located lol

09:48:49 From  Mary Magnuson (she/her)  to  Everyone: Feel free to use the chat for questions and comments!

09:53:11 From  Ida Rukavina  to  Everyone: Thank you!

09:56:06 From  Bill Coleman  to  Everyone: Christopher, what can community champions do to convince reluctant electric cooperatives to solve their region’s broadband issues?

09:57:56 From  Ann Treacy  to  Everyone: a network is only as strong as its weakest node!

09:58:00 From  Ida Rukavina  to  Everyone: Electric cooperative boards are elected members- elect members who understand and champion broadband

09:58:23 From  Bernadine Joselyn (she/her)  to  Everyone: The need to look at all of these aspects of broadband “in one breath” is the reason why Blandin Foundation uses the Intelligent Community Framework, that encourages folks to hold in their minds the full “wheel” – infrastructure, knowledge workforce, innovation, digital inclusion, advocacy and sustainability.

09:59:44 From  Katie Malchow  to  Everyone: Is there a preferred place to purchase Christopher’s book?

10:00:19 From  Bill Coleman  to  Everyone: Ida, I have encouraged region’s to consider this as a strategy.  Those boards do tend to be very entrenched with long-standing membership and low voting enthusiasm

10:00:42 From  Adrianne Furniss  to  Everyone: https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/farm-fresh-broadband

10:00:56 From  Ida Rukavina  to  Everyone: Bill- its a good idea= to encourage members who care to run for these positions

10:01:26 From  Bernadine Joselyn (she/her)  to  Everyone: Thanks, Adrianne for that guidance on the preferred place to buy Christopher’s book.

10:02:51 From  Calla Jarvie  to  Everyone: The Rock County Community Library owns a copy of Christopher’s book! There’s a chapter on Rock County 🙂

10:03:15 From  Mary Ann Van Cura  to  Everyone: even in Minneapolis where there is an affordable private-public internet service, trees and leaves prevent the signals from getting to some homes. [mine included!]

10:03:16 From  Christopher Ali  to  Everyone: Hi Calla! Great to see you again!!

10:05:21 From  Bill Coleman  to  Everyone: I also think that farmers can help provide significant capital for broadband expansion.  I was on a call in Illinois where a Farm Bureau representative said that the average farmer could net approximately $70,000 annually from the use of precision agriculture which requires broadband.

10:07:40 From  Christopher Ali  to  Everyone:@Ida – there’s a great example of how member-owners of electric cooperatives have mobilized to encourage their co-op to offer retail broadband: https://www.myrec.coop/work-underway-expand-broadband-rec-member-owners-louisa

10:07:58 From  Ida Rukavina  to  Everyone: Thank you!


Info on Speaker:

In his new book, Professor Ali offers an analysis of the failure of U.S. broadband policy to solve the rural–urban digital divide and a proposal for a building a better broadband future. Ali will describe what it would look like to create a multistakeholder system, guided by thoughtful public policy and funded by public and private support.

Dr. Christopher Ali is an Associate Professor of Media Studies at the University of Virginia and Knight News Innovation Fellow with the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University. His research and writing focus on broadband policy, planning, and deployment, particularly in rural communities. He is the author of the new book Farm Fresh Broadband: The Politics of Rural Connectivity, and has written for The New York Times, The Hill, Realtor Magazine, and Digital Beat.

Adrianne B. Furniss is Executive Director and board member of the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society. For 40 years, the Benton Institute has helped strengthen communities by advancing communications policy in the public interest while providing day-to-day support and resources to the community of people who care about “broadband for all.”

Currently, Adrianne serves on two additional boards — the Board of Advisors for the Coalition for Local Internet Choice (CLIC), which represents a wide range of public and private interests who support the authority of local communities to make the broadband Internet choices that are essential for economic competitiveness, democratic discourse, and quality of life in the 21st century; and as Secretary and Executive Committee member of the Board of Directors for PC’s for People, a national nonprofit based in St. Paul, Minnesota. Through electronic reuse, PCs for People provides the opportunity for all low-income individuals and nonprofits to benefit from the life changing impact of computers and mobile internet.

2021 MN Broadband Day Three: Welcome with Mark Ritchie

A welcome and tone setting from Mark Ritchie, President of Global Minnesota…

Chat from Session:

Welcome

08:50:33 From  Bill Coleman  to  Everyone: This is a quality and interesting event: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/icf-summit-2021-communities-on-the-verge-tickets-165769889201?keep_tld=1

08:51:45 From  Anne Brataas  to  Everyone: I want a screen saver of Bernadine shaking her head, “Boy, I’ll say….”

08:56:53 From  Anne Brataas  to  Everyone: Future deep dive topic: What does “support for broadband” mean? Pro- genuine fact-based, education? Genuine relationship with a human being? Or pro-Misinformation/propaganda high speed lane to bot farms? Commodifying children, creating a culture of consumers who cannot create? Let it be the former, with this fantastic Blandin community leading! Thank you Blandin!

09:15:08 From  Ida Rukavina  to  Everyone: Thank you Mark- so great to see you!

09:15:32 From  mark ritchie  to  Everyone: So fun to see you and the whole team in one place!

09:37:03 From  Becky Lourey  to  Everyone: “Progress is an inspiration”. great concept! Thanks, Mark

09:37:44 From  Mary DeVany-gpTRAC  to  Everyone: 👍🏼

09:38:27 From  Bill Coleman  to  Everyone: Celebrating small wins leads to big wins!

09:38:41 From  Scott Cole  to  Everyone: AMEN Bill !!


Info on Speakers:

Mark Ritchie serves as President of Global Minnesota, the state’s World Affairs Council, and is a leader in the effort to bring to Minnesota the first ever World’s Fair focused on health and wellness. This World Expo will be integrated into the Global Goals Campaign designed to reach or exceed thee health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, under the theme “Healthy People, Healthy Planet.”

Mark was Minnesota’s elected Secretary of State from 2007 to 2015 and currently serves as the Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army from Minnesota.

Bernadine Joselyn has served as director of Blandin Foundation’s Public Policy and Engagement program since 2001. Here she leads efforts to facilitate the building of knowledge and catalyze community action around issues and opportunities that align with the Foundation’s mission of strengthening rural Minnesota communities, especially the Grand Rapids area.

Beginning in 2003 she has led the foundation’s broadband programming in rural communities across the state. She represents rural communities on the Governor’s Broadband Task Force.

A native of Minnesota, Bernadine has a master’s degree in international affairs and a certificate in advanced Soviet studies from Columbia University. Bernadine spent the first 15 years of her professional life in Soviet (and then post-Soviet) Affairs. She served seven years as diplomat with the U.S. Department of State, where —  after an initial tour in New Delhi, India — she was assigned to Moscow, Russia, and Washington, D.C., focused on the U.S.-Soviet/Russian relationship. After the collapse of the Soviet Union Bernadine left the diplomatic corps to work on international academic and cultural exchange programs with the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX) and subsequently the Eurasia Foundation, where she oversaw a $5 million annual grant program.

In 2000 Bernadine returned to Minnesota to complete a second master’s degree in public policy at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute.

2021 MN Broadband Day Two: My internet is so bad (video)

Folks seemed to enjoy our “break” between sessions. You can find more videos from the Arrowhead Internet Region group on the Blandin on Broadband YouTube channel.

Chat from the session:

10:42:18 From  Eileen Smith Hometown Fiber  to  Everyone: Fabulous video!

10:42:26 From  Benya Kraus  to  Everyone: 😂😂😂

10:42:53 From  Anne Hoyt Taff she/hers  to  Everyone: Can we get a copy of this?? I need to share around Metro colleagues.

10:42:55 From  Michael: Mi-Tech  to  Mary Magnuson (she/her)(Direct Message): Can you share a link to this video?

10:43:05 From  Michelle Marotzke  to  Everyone: The frozen face screen! Sometimes it’s pretty awful/hilarious!

10:44:24 From  Yvonne Cariveau  to  Everyone: Benya – challenge accepted!

10:44:32 From  Anne Hoyt Taff she/hers  to  Everyone: Could not compete with Ben, I tried lol.

10:44:43 From  Mary Magnuson (she/her)  to  Everyone: My internet is so bad video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lx2SLS98Zkg

10:50:13 From  Bill Coleman  to  Everyone: I think that I still have a “Get Broadband” button handed out by the Ventura Administration when the MNIT team was leading the state tech effort.  Based on the “Get Milk” dairy campaign

2021 MN Broadband Day Two: Getting it Done: Advocacy and Action

2021 MN Broadband Day Two: Getting it Done: Advocacy and Action

Getting it Done: Advocacy and Action
A series of fast-moving presentations about efforts across Minnesota to improve access and adoption and advocate for broadband investment. Presentation and Discussion. Moderated by Bernadine Joselyn, Blandin Foundation



Chat from session:

Advocacy & Action Panel

09:52:23 From  Mary Magnuson (she/her)  to  Everyone: Use that chat for questions!

09:59:21 From  Bill Coleman  to  Everyone: Are there regional variations in the “welcoming” atmosphere?

10:01:58 From  Scott Cole-Collectivity  to  Everyone: Awesome – thanks Ben!!

10:02:09 From  Benya Kraus  to  Everyone: Always breathless by Ben!

10:02:38 From  Ben Winchester  to  Everyone: No significant variation in welcoming

10:03:44 From  Mary Magnuson (she/her)  to  Everyone: CBR: Accelerate Program: https://blandinfoundation.org/programs/broadband/community-broadband-resources-accelerate/

10:04:36 From  Mary Magnuson (she/her)  to  Everyone: Analysis of Accelerate Survey Results: https://blandinfoundation.org/content/uploads/2021.07.07.-Up-to-Speed-Broadband-FINAL-report.pdf

10:05:11 From  Mary Magnuson (she/her)  to  Everyone: East Central MN Broadband Stories Report (from the survey): https://blandinfoundation.org/content/uploads/East-Central-MN-Broadband-Stories-Report-Oct-2021.pdf

10:13:02 From  Bill Coleman  to  Everyone: Visited my brother in the Michigan UP last weekend.  He was happy with his foxed wireless Internet because it generally worked.  I did a speed test and it was 5 Mb down, 2 Mb up.  I was surprised that it actually worked to stream Netflix but the picture quality was not great.  Watching live TV (sports), the stream regularly buffered.

10:13:42 From  Scott Cole-Collectivity  to  Everyone: Curious

10:14:24 From  Mary DeVany  to  Everyone: telehealth isn’t on the list? or, was it just not high enough to reach the slide…?

10:14:36 From  Ida Rukavina  to  Everyone: not just cabins- people in northern MN would love to install Ring service or something similar for their rural homes. Heard about this often.

10:14:45 From  Scott Cole-Collectivity  to  Everyone: Bill, was the advertised speed the same as the tested speed?

10:15:20 From  Bill Coleman  to  Everyone: I did not ask that question Scott.

10:15:29 From  Scott Cole-Collectivity  to  Everyone: Thx 🙂

10:16:03 From  Mary Ann Van Cura  to  Everyone: great list: availability, affordability, speed, reliability

10:23:07 From  Hussein Farah  to  Everyone: ConnectedMN Website: www.connectedmn.us

10:32:34 From  Anne Hoyt Taff she/hers  to  Everyone: ConnectedMN.us/grantees1 is a list/interactive of the grantees to date

10:33:16 From  Scott Cole-Collectivity  to  Everyone: https://www.connectedmn.us/grantees1

10:41:31 From  Scott Cole-Collectivity  to  Everyone: Thank you Anne and Hussein!! Really well done 🙂

10:41:58 From  Anne Hoyt Taff she/hers  to  Everyone: Thanks to everyone for your leadership on connectivity issues! Makes a huge difference for MN families and students.

10:42:07 From  Benya Kraus  to  Everyone: Ditto! Thank you Anne and Hussein – what a rapid response, yet still held such a community informed approach. Thank you!


Chat on Starlink:

Starlink

10:16:18 From  Jim Yount  to  Everyone: I would like today’s discussions to explore how full public release of Starlink relates to the broadband issues we’ve been talking about for years.  Very good internet is now available everywhere in MN with a decent view of the sky… as long as you can afford it.  Availability is effectively no longer an issue.  Equitability/affordability is now the major issue for access.   We still want to expand the fiber/cable to the home and ISP competition, but some funders and communities are now at least somewhat more likely to say “what’s the point now that there’s Starlink?”

10:17:05 From  Scott Cole-Collectivity  to  Everyone: once they’re the full constellation the latency will be down to 10ms

10:17:06 From  Lezlie Sauter  to  Everyone: I signed up for Starlink 6 months ago and have yet to receive the equipment, so it’s not truly accessible yet.

10:18:33 From  Jim Yount  to  Everyone: True they are still ramping up capacity and performance, but it’s still a game changer and it’s important to discuss how Starlink influences the internet access landscape.

10:23:42 From  Bill Coleman  to  Everyone: These are good questions around Starlink.  It is a tech marvel.  I have read about their actual full capacity to serve millions of rural customers.  Jim’s question about affordability as a primary barrier is also interesting, especially as the feds fund the EBB program now with more direct consumer subsidy programs in the works.

10:28:25 From  Bill Coleman  to  Everyone: To clarify my comment above, I read that Starlink may be only able to serve a limited number of customers.

10:29:24 From  Bill Coleman  to  Everyone: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20210510/08050146767/elon-musk-makes-it-clear-starlink-wont-have-capacity-to-disrupt-us-broadband.shtml

10:41:25 From  Jim Yount  to  Everyone: Thanks Bill, that article is an excellent discussion of the capacity limits of Starlink.  I entirely agree that the emergence of Starlink does not mean “problem solved”.  I suspect you agree that it is nonetheless a game changer that merits further careful thought and analysis of its potential impacts on the broadband connectivity landscape.  Important to consider for medium and long-term planning.

10:45:58 From  Jim Yount  to  Everyone: If Starlink’s capacity is only 1% of the US population it’s impact on the underserved will nonetheless be dramatically larger for several reasons.  Starlink is mainly relevant not to the entire US population but rather to those who are underserved or very dissatisfied but still able to pay Starlink’s rates.  They can serve much more that 1% of that smaller group to whom they are relevant.

10:51:39 From  Jim Yount  to  Everyone: It’s also important to recognize that their capacity is spread fairly even across the landscape because their constellation of satellites is necessarily/wisely widely spread out.  If they are eventually able to serve 1 million households in the US, for example, those households must be fairly evenly spread out over the entire country.  This means that while they could only serve a tiny fraction of the population of Los Angeles they can serve a relatively large fraction of sparsely populated regions, likely rising to 100% in the most remote areas.

10:52:18 From  Mike Wimmer  to  Everyone: I’m a big believer in Starlink and believe that much like Fixed-Wireless it is a part of the solution. One concern I have about Starlink is that right now the process of setting up the service is not easy for many rural residents. If you are comfortable with technology it is relatively simple, but I could see older residents and those not comfortable with technology struggling to set it up. My hope is that once it exits beta testing, SpaceX allow for 3rd party installers similar to existing cable/internet to cover that gap.

10:56:10 From  Yvonne Cariveau  to  Everyone: A key for best speed and service is for each household to have options.  StarLink is one option, but landline availability and fixed wireless are other important ones needed not just for households but also for schools, businesses and farms in rural areas, so I don’t see StarLink as THE answer to availability, but certainly part of the puzzle.

10:57:00 From  Lezlie Sauter  to  Everyone: I hopeful for Starlink and know a few families who it immensely helped during the pandemic. But I also know many families that hoped it would get them connected but have yet to receive their hardware (so they continue to use cellular hotspots or DSL).

10:57:11 From  Mike Wimmer  to  Everyone: But I think the technology behind Starlink is legitimate and will help cover the broadband gap, especially in the areas of the state/country where FTTP is unlikely to ever happen short of 100% subsidy. I’ll be curious if Project Kuiper/Blue Origin is able to eventually offer some sort of service as well. They seem to be falling further behind SpaceX/Starlink everyday, but have a bottomless pit of cash to draw from (Bezos).

10:59:18 From  Mike Wimmer  to  Everyone: I think Starlink is boosting production of the dishes to meet demand. I suspect they are impacted (like all tech) by the chip shortages. I saw yesterday that even Apple is dropping iPhone production because they cannot get some of the chips that they need. If even Apple is struggling, I can only imagine more “niche” uses of chips like Starlink are in an even more difficult spot.

10:59:35 From  Jim Yount  to  Everyone: Actually, I am a 3rd party installer about to install my 3rd Starlink dish on Friday… All 3 of those are (no surprise) older folks not excited about climbing their roof or a tower even *if* they’re comfortable with the tech, per se.  It’s allowed, but it’s entirely up to the end-user to find a contractor and it’s not cheap.  I’m well aware that there are many folks in our county who have no fast options other than Starlink but can’t or would greatly struggle to pay the upfront cost and monthly cost, never mind professional installation.  I’d rather they have excellent fiber to the home than pay me to put in Starlink.

11:00:40 From  Marc Johnson  to  Everyone: In the discussion about options, including satellite and fixed wireless, remember the comment that “upload speed is productivity.”

11:03:49 From  Ben Winchester  to  Everyone: Agree. Download=consumption. Upload=Production, I always hit on the economic side of upstream – we want to participate as producers in the knowledge economy not just consume it.

11:05:59 From  Jim Yount  to  Everyone: I like how Yvonne expressed it: Starlink is not THE answer to availability but certainly is part of the puzzle.  What I’m advocating is a thoughtful, detailed discussion to explore that that puzzle piece really looks like and the details of how it fits into the overall puzzle.  I’ve spent a lot of time trying to expand my understanding of that bigger picture, with an eye on how to advise the stakeholders and decision makers in my community (and elsewhere).  But we’re all smarter together.  I very definitely don’t have all the answers!

I’d love to see a mini-conference on “how Starlink changes broadband”, perhaps sponsored by the Blandin Foundation!

11:06:53 From  Jay Trusty  to  Everyone: Honestly, I think the largest disadvantage of the Starlink discussion is that it gives legislators an out when we approach them about resources to bring broadband to unserved areas.  They don’t actually have to spend time learning the issues, they can just say Starlink makes the effort moot.

11:08:11 From  Bernadine Joselyn (she/her)  to  Everyone: Jay: I agree 100%

11:08:22 From  Lezlie Sauter  to  Everyone: Jay, you’re absolutely correct. We’ve had people walk away from our community broadband work because they believe Starlink will fix it all.

11:09:39 From  Jim Yount  to  Everyone: I very strongly agree, Jay.  That’s one of the likely negative impacts of Starlink that I’m quite concerned.  Lots of side effects that should be explored.  And responses devised, such as getting the message out that we still very much need to expand our terrestrial infrastructure.

11:10:01 From  Ben Winchester  to  Everyone: Yes Jay that is my primary concern.

11:11:33 From  Jim Yount  to  Everyone: Deciders, funders, community advocates, voters, etc. need to understand both the potential and limitations of Starlink.

11:34:34 From  Anne Brataas  to  Everyone: Just a note on Starlink science and tech: I’m a professional science writer and happen to be writing for NASA now, and what jumps out over and over to me is the lightly-regulated satellite scene and competition for slots by international players. This is immensely relevant to Starlink’s ability to deliver broadband sustainably. Needs to discussed.

11:54:29 From  Scott Cole-Collectivity  to  Everyone: The projected Starlink latency will be down to 10ms in the full (post-beta) deployment


Info on Speakers…

Minnesota Broadband: Land of Ten Thousand Connectivity Solutions

Minnesota communities have found an array of creative, practical solutions to expanding fast, reliable, affordable, and locally accountable broadband access to tens of thousands of homes all across the state over the last decade. In this report, we revisit networks, cities, counties, and small Internet Service Providers to see how they’ve met and overcome challenges in an arena more friendly to the out-of-state monopoly providers. We’re excited to talk about how evidence from around the state shows that citizens looking for better Internet access aren’t limited to just one or two paths to success, and share those stories of local persistence, clear vision, and creative execution.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken, Senior Researcher, Community Broadband Networks initiative, Institute for Local Self-Reliance (Mankato, MN). Ry writes about community networks of all shapes and sizes, in addition to undertaking long-term research projects on the benefits of broadband infrastructure investment to competition, telehealth interventions, economic development, community savings, and local resiliency. He has a PhD in American History from Oklahoma State University, with research emphases in the history of science, technology, and medicine. He tweets @galtonsbox.

Workforce Movers in Rural Minnesota

In 2019 the University of Minnesota conducted a study of newcomers to 20 rural counties across Minnesota. Hear about qualities of these newcomers and how communities have changed due to their migration with a focus on broadband satisfaction and telecommuting. This session will also advance a discussion about broadband as economic development in rural communities by differentiating between download consumption and upload production.

Benjamin Winchester, Rural Sociology Educator, University of Minnesota Extension.
Ben has been working both in and for small towns across the Midwest for over 25 years. He lives in St. Cloud, Minnesota with his wife and two children. Ben is trained as a Rural Sociologist and works as a Senior Research Fellow for the University of Minnesota Extension, Center for Community Vitality. He conducts applied research on economic, social, and demographic topics surrounding a theme of “rewriting the rural narrative” that are vital to rural America. He received the Rural Renewal Research Prize in 2021 for this work.

Surveys, Data and Stories to Inform Policy and Investment

Ann Treacy and Ben Winchester look into two reports based on surveys from communities in East Central MN working with Blandin Foundation through it’s Community Broadband Resources: Accelerate! program to improve broadband.

Ann Treacy, Treacy Information Services
Ann authors and manages the Blandin on Broadband blog. She has worked on broadband issues since 1994 – both supporting deployment of broadband and helping people and businesses better use broadband through digital inclusion training and online marketing consulting. Ann has a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science as well as a Master’s in Literature. You can learn more at www.byteoftheweek.com.

Partnership for ConnectedMN: A Community-Responsive, Public-Private Partnership

Partnership for ConnectedMN was established in May 2020 to address digital inequities surfacing in the height of the pandemic for K – 12 students. To date, ConnectedMN has provided almost $7M in grants to organizations providing devices, internet connectivity and digital support to  Minnesota students. The partnership has also established and continued to build a learning community for community leaders working in this area, culminating in a virtual roundtable with over 180 attendees in July 2021. Anne and Hussein will share how the partnership was established and focus on how the group continually adapted to provide community-informed relief and support for Minnesota students over the last year and a half.

Anne Hoyt Taff, Associate Vice President of Community Impact, Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation
Anne has worked at the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation since 2016. As associate vice president of community impact, Anne works to build community capacity through philanthropic and community initiatives that address a wide range of issues facing Minnesota. Anne is a facilitator and advocate, energized by building networks to respond to community need. Anne is grateful for the company and entertainment provided by her husband, a teacher in St. Paul, and two young children.

Hussein Farah, Founder and Executive Director, New Visions Foundation, St. Paul, MN
Hussein is the Founder and Executive Director of the New Vision Foundation, a nonprofit organization that engages, motivates, and inspires disadvantaged youth through coding and digital literacy classes. A social entrepreneur and a strategic business developer, Farah has extensive experience leading local, national and global efforts to create community-centered, asset-based solutions that advance community economic development and social justice. He co-founded the African Development Center, a nonprofit that provides guidance and financial success to African immigrants in Minnesota, and has received a number of local, national and international awards recognizing his vision, leadership and community contributions.  Farah is passionate about increasing the participation of minority communities in the high-tech industry as a means of solving racial income disparities in Minnesota. He is a 2018 Bush Fellow at the Bush Foundation, and a 2017/2018 Public Policy Fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

Moderator:

Bernadine Joselyn has served as director of Blandin Foundation’s Public Policy and Engagement program since 2001. Here she leads efforts to facilitate the building of knowledge and catalyze community action around issues and opportunities that align with the Foundation’s mission of strengthening rural Minnesota communities, especially the Grand Rapids area.

Beginning in 2003 she has led the foundation’s broadband programming in rural communities across the state. She represents rural communities on the Governor’s Broadband Task Force.

A native of Minnesota, Bernadine has a master’s degree in international affairs and a certificate in advanced Soviet studies from Columbia University. Bernadine spent the first 15 years of her professional life in Soviet (and then post-Soviet) Affairs. She served seven years as diplomat with the U.S. Department of State, where —  after an initial tour in New Delhi, India — she was assigned to Moscow, Russia, and Washington, D.C., focused on the U.S.-Soviet/Russian relationship. After the collapse of the Soviet Union Bernadine left the diplomatic corps to work on international academic and cultural exchange programs with the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX) and subsequently the Eurasia Foundation, where she oversaw a $5 million annual grant program.

In 2000 Bernadine returned to Minnesota to complete a second master’s degree in public policy at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute.

2021 MN Broadband Day One: Digital Showcase: Closing the Opportunity Gap

A series of fast-moving presentations and demos by people from around the state and beyond who are using technology and the internet in innovative ways to improve lives and increase opportunity for all. Show, tell, and discussion. Moderated by Ann Treacy, Treacy Information Services

  • Fostering Productive Conversations – Kendra Jo Grindle, Island Institute, Rockland, ME
  • Overcoming Broadband Gaps in Rural Minnesota Communities – Edward Hilbrich, Libraries Without Borders, Washington DC
  • Sustainably Sourcing Digital Literacy Skill Services – Joe Miller, Literacy Minnesota, St. Paul, MN
  • Region Nine Tele Mental Health Portal – Kristian Braekkan and Alejandra Bejarano, Region Nine Development Commission, Mankato, MN
  • Smart Cities and Streaming Television – Abraham Levine, Brainware Partners, Minneapolis, MN

(I will add more presentations as I get them.)

Presentation by Libraries without Borders.

Resources from Joe Miller.


Chat from the session:

Digital Showcase

Island Inst:

09:41:05 From  Bernadine Joselyn (she/her)  to  Everyone:

Island Institute in the state of Maine!

09:44:38 From  Sarah Swedburg (she/her)  to  Everyone:

Will slides be available on the conference website?

09:45:37 From  Mary Magnuson (she/her)  to  Everyone:

Yes, to the Blandin on Broadband blog first https://blandinonbroadband.org/ and then I’ll add links to the conference website.

09:46:08 From  Anne Brataas  to  Everyone:

Excellent, thank you!

Literacy MN:

10:03:19 From  Joe Miller  to  Everyone:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1H3itVC8-OGL6ebT5r8xrb6klKq3l6aa-83bVLnZtqc0/edit?usp=sharing

10:04:23 From  Joe Miller  to  Everyone:

Can you please share in the chat: (i) what is a digital literacy skill that you have learned since March 2020, and (ii) what is a computer skill that is important for participation in public/private life?

10:04:33 From  Edward Hilbrich  to  Everyone:

https://www.librarieswithoutborders.us/manufactured-housing-initiative/

10:04:44 From  Yvonne Cariveau  to  Everyone:

How to create videos for others explaining things.

10:04:49 From  Bernadine Joselyn (she/her)  to  Everyone:

I’ve learned how to share a screen on zoom.

10:04:54 From  Michelle Marotzke  to  Everyone:

Ways to use Zoom

10:04:58 From  Eric Day  to  Everyone:

Zoom basics

10:05:07 From  Becky Lourey  to  Everyone:

I rely on my IT people as I struggle to become efficient

10:05:09 From  Ida Rukavina  to  Everyone:

how to run a Zoom meeting- I hadn’t prior

10:05:11 From  Jay Trusty  to  Everyone:

How to use MS Teams to collaborate

10:05:11 From  Chris Stark, UW  to  Everyone:

(1) ZOOM    (2) filling out a job application

10:05:13 From  Dawn Hegland  to  Everyone:

I have learned how to use more and more ways to connect digitally and share and collaboratively work on documents

10:05:22 From  Sarah Swedburg (she/her)  to  Everyone:

Navigating short surveys for community participation

10:05:24 From  Amanda Othoudt, Benton Economic Partnership (7W)  to  Everyone:

How to utilize MS Teams/Zoom

10:05:27 From  Jason Walkowiak  to  Everyone:

How to work like we have never have before

10:05:31 From  Brenda Johnson SEMLM  to  Everyone:

online meeting facilitation

10:05:33 From  Ann Treacy  to  Everyone:

edit vodcast – new skill

10:05:42 From  Ann Treacy  to  Everyone:

zoom – essential wok skills

10:05:48 From  Carter Grupp  to  Everyone:

Teaching my mom how to export pdfs and change file types/formats

10:05:48 From  Brenda Nyberg  to  Everyone:

Electronic Signatures

10:05:48 From  Timothy Furr  to  Everyone:

Online interviews

10:05:49 From  Anne Brataas  to  Everyone:

Research local alternatives to Facebook

10:05:52 From  Jami Trenam – Great River Regional Library  to  Everyone:

  1. how to lead teams/meetings through zoom 2. essential skill for all: using email

10:06:12 From  Brian Frederick  to  Everyone:

Remote support with remote sharing.

10:06:21 From  Ida Rukavina  to  Everyone:

Agree Anne!

10:12:45 From  Becky Lourey  to  Everyone:

I have also learned that remote work for my employees has enhanced their life-work balance.  Also, employees now recommend talented people they know to apply for jobs because they can also work remotely.  I had always wanted us together in the building.  Now, we are using broadband to keep us together.  All this influenced by Covid and requiring great Broadband

10:13:00 From  Joe Miller  to  Everyone:

jmiller@literacymn.org

10:13:50 From  Hannah Buckland  to  Everyone:

Great to hear the shoutouts to State Library Services this morning! When you find yourself thinking, “If only Jen Nelson didn’t flee to New Jersey,” please know that you can always reach out to me with your library-related digital inclusion thoughts, questions, schemes, etc. I’m still here at hannah.buckland@state.mn.us 🙂

10:14:27 From  Scott Cole-Collectivity  to  Everyone:

Thanks Hannah!

10:15:45 From  Ann Treacy  to  Everyone:

Digital showcase bios: https://blandinfoundation.org/articles/digital-showcase-closing-the-opportunity-gap/

10:45:29 From  Misty Hendrickson  to  Everyone:

Our problem in northern mn is not being able to get workers here due to the prevailing wage due to the mines.

Region Nine:

10:46:18 From  Yvonne Cariveau  to  Everyone:

Kristian and Alejandra talked about telemedicine for mental health and about a pilot that hit capacity very soon. Does improved access to broadband expand access to mental health providers? (Which may be the bigger capacity problem)

10:46:47 From  Scott Cole-Collectivity  to  Everyone:

Great question Yvonne…

10:50:09 From  Anne Brataas  to  Everyone:

Related question to alcohol and mental health issues: what are you finding the most effective support/intervention/rehab broadband promotes? As a joyfully sober recovering alcoholic for  33 years, the urgency of this data point in rural MN really speaks to me.

10:53:07 From  Yvonne Cariveau  to  Everyone:

We expand our pool of talent by expanding broadband – especially for rural folks in their 60s that may be nervous about covid exposure and have the option to not work or work from home (if they have broadband).

10:55:19 From  Misty Hendrickson  to  Everyone:

I don’t have a microphone. sorry

10:57:08 From  Misty Hendrickson  to  Everyone:

I meant we can’t get broadband copper to us because the installers won’t work here because all federal funding requires prevailing wage.

10:57:26 From  Becky Lourey  to  Everyone:

Ida, Amy said you have a new employer … where are you working ?

10:59:01 From  Michael Schumacher  to  Everyone:

That would be brilliant!  #WorkExperience

11:01:20 From  Mike Wimmer  to  Everyone:

I do not believe ARP funded projects need to follow Davis-Bacon. If you tap into the State grant program, I do believe Davis Bacon needs to be followed

11:02:32 From  Anne Brataas  to  Everyone:

To follow up on Misty’s and Ida’s points — and NOT bring wages down—is there a way to incent/compel contracts with high prevailing wages to be accepted?

11:04:19 From  Misty Hendrickson  to  Everyone:

Yes, we don’t want to bring wages down, just get installers.


More info on presenters:

Fostering Productive Conversations

Kendra Jo Grindle, Senior Community Development Officer, Island Institute, Rockland, ME
As Senior Community Development Officer, Kendra Jo serves as both the strategic lead and project lead for the Island Institute’s Broadband team as they work to achieve national average connectivity for all island and coastal communities in Maine, as well as the strategic lead for the Sea Level Rise team.

Kendra Jo is no stranger to the Island Institute’s mission. She first came to Maine, by way of her home state of West Virginia, as an Island Fellow on Islesboro in 2013. During her fellowship, she worked to connect island families to readily available resources on the mainland and revive the Social Services Liaison at the Islesboro Town Office. In the years since her fellowship, Kendra Jo worked for the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association as the Community Programs and Operations Manager. She holds a BA in Human Development & Family Studies with a concentration in Rural Families from the University of Connecticut.

Overcoming Broadband Gaps in Rural Minnesota Communities

Edward Hilbrich, Manufactured Housing Project Coordinator, Libraries Without Borders
Edward (he/his) believes that advocating for free, open access to resourceful information is a revolutionary act, which promotes public discourse, political engagement, and autonomous, collective decision-making. Edward has a rich and varied background as a Homeless Rights and Housing Advocate, a Union Organizer, and as an Independent Bookstore Owner. Edward is a NYC transplant working and living in the Twin Cities.

Sustainably Sourcing Digital Literacy Skill Services

Joe Miller is Project Manager – Digital Equity and Strategy at Literacy Minnesota. He is at the forefront of research and development at the nonprofit when digital equity intersects with the literacy cause, which has included management of projects in partnership with the AmeriCorps Emergency Response Initiative and the Minnesota Department of Education.  Prior to his current role, Joe taught English in North Minneapolis with Literacy Minnesota and North Sumatra, Indonesia with the Fulbright Program.  His undergraduate degree is in economics and political science from St. Olaf College, and he has previous professional experience in operations at a nonprofit in the Brainerd Lakes Area, Minnesota Hockey Camps.

Region Nine Tele Mental Health Portal

Region Nine Development Commission was awarded a Broadband grant from Blandin Foundation in 2019 to develop a tele-mental health portal in spring 2020 to serve diverse populations in southcentral Minnesota. Little did we know that the work would coincide with a global pandemic and a dramatic increase in the need for mental health services in an already high demand/low supply market. This presentation will discuss how tele-mental health services can augment existing services in rural areas, lessons learned, needs discovered, and ideas for future considerations.

Kristian Braekkan joined Region Nine in February 2018. His work relates to resource development, economic development, and industrial projects. Kristian completed his Ph.D. at Virginia Tech in 2010. His research on industrial relations spans a wide variety of contexts, such as steel, coal, health care, manufacturing, and service industries. He has presented and published his research domestically and internationally.

Alejandra Bejarano joined Region Nine in August of 2021 as an economic recovery planner. As a previous Region Nine intern and Fellow for the Lead for Minnesota fellowship program, she is enthusiastic about continuing to work with Region Nine in creating vibrant and resilient communities. Alejandra just graduated with an MPA from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Alejandra hails from Colombia and moved to the United States at a young age to play college tennis. Having a deep interest in research, Alejandra did her capstone project on corruption and institutional trust. She has diverse background experience in both the private and public sectors and is passionate about exploring new cultures, as she speaks multiple languages.

Smart Cities and Streaming Television

This session will describe the Community Technology Advisory Commission of St. Louis Park and it’s activities on its origin and activities in smart city applications and how we can aid cities looking at such technologies.  Also, the session will describe launch of City Streaming TV for hyper-local streaming channels for Community organizations, Faith-based organizations, public and entertainment, elected officials and candidates (election season only).  This generally free service does not require cable nor any governmental public access permission.  Ideal for smaller cities, local community chapters, businesses and entertainment, and a way for local officials to better communicate with constituents.

Abraham (Abe) Levine is CEO of Brainware Partners, a high technology consulting firm specializing in executive and technical services for telecommunications, and software, in addition to companies in the trucking industry.  He is also working with a major company in the streaming television industry and Chairman of the St. Louis Park, MN Community Technology Advisory Commission dealing with smart city applications.

A recent long-term engagement was at VisTracks where he, as Chief Operating Officer, developed their product strategy and channel sales for their tracking and later their Electronic Logging Device (ELD) business.  For the ELD, his 80+ reseller channel brought in sales to over 70,000 trucks in 18 months.  Mr. Levine also became well-known on Sirius/XM where he was interviewed several times and sponsored a call-in show about the complex US ELD rules.  In addition, Mr. Levine developed an overseas call center and worldwide ELD product support.

Prior to the VisTracks engagement, Abe was COO of a Wisconsin-based wireless carrier where he led a turnaround from monthly subscriber losses to significant monthly gains and managed over 600,000 IoT devices on his network. He has worked with over 30 telecommunications companies worldwide in various executive capacities in sales and professional services.  He also has worldwide experience in aerospace, automotive, government, and pharma.

Moderator

Ann Treacy, Treacy Information Services, authors and manages the Blandin on Broadband blog. She has worked on broadband issues since 1994 – both supporting deployment of broadband and helping people and businesses better use broadband through digital inclusion training and online marketing consulting. Ann has a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science as well as a Master’s in Literature. You can learn more at www.byteoftheweek.com.

 

EVENT TOMORROW: Blandin Broadband Online Conference Oct 12-14: Tips, tricks and not too late to register

The planning team is getting excited. We’re looking forward to good ideas and conversation at the  Building on Broadband: Inspiring Progress conference this week. Here are some high level tips to

  • Sessions start at 9am each day BUT casual chat starts at 8:30am. Please join us!
  • We will adjourn at 12:30 on Tuesday, 1pm on Wednesday and noon on Thursday.
  • The day before a session, you will get a zoom link by email or text (based on your declared preference at registration)
  • It’s not too late to register
  • All sessions will be streamed to our YouTube channel
  • You will find a detailed agenda on the conference webpage.
  • Notes and archive videos will be post on the Blandin on Broadband blog ASAP
  • Social tags for presenters and model messages are collected in a Tool Kit for everyone – keep up during sessions #mnbroadband
  • AND one hot off the press update – Senator Klobuchar will address the conference tomorrow!

Conference small print:

During the Event

When you join conference, you’ll be muted and your video will be off. You can unmute and turn on your video whenever you’d like — but we do ask that you keep yourself muted during presentations. Use the chat box for questions and comments. If your internet isn’t great, Zoom will likely perform better for you if you keep your video off, or use it sparingly.

A word about privacy: Note there is a chance your Zoom-square will show up in our videos. If you don’t want your full name to show up, you will have the ability to rename yourself. Click on the ellipses in the upper right corner of your square, or private chat Mary Magnuson.

NW Regional Broadband Gathering Notes & Video

A couple dozen folks met last week to talk about broadband in Northwest Minnesota.

The session was half presentation and half discussion. We could hear the frustration of folks who needed better service. It made work and school more difficult. As someone pointed out, patchy broadband access determined business failures and successes, especially among resorts and other hospitality-related businesses.

Access wasn’t the only issue. Affordability was an issue and making sure that folks have the skills to use it. Growing digital skills with people looking for jobs in and out of the tribal community is essential to creating an even playing field.

Agenda:

Broadband and COVID-19 Presentation

Diane Wells, Office of Broadband Development, DEED

 

Discussion Questions

  1. Why is broadband important to you/your organization?
  2. What are some best practices for broadband adoption in use in your organization/industry?
  3. What work are you involved within our region to advance broadband access, adoption, affordability, and use?

Next Steps and Closing – Bernadine Joselyn, Blandin Foundation

  1. Annual Broadband Conference
  2. Announcements about an opportunity