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

Region 5 Broadband Event Notes and Audio

The Region 5 Broadband Event turned into a great conversation with lots of questions and ideas from attendees and speakers. Interesting to hear the perspective of policymakers and how they focus on to best work with providers.

listen to the session – or half the session due to a tiny glitch:

Agenda:

Welcome

  • Cheryal Hills, Executive Director, Region Five Development Commission
  • Current Broadband Climate (Data from Dept of Broadband)
  • Diane Wells, MN Dept of Education and Economic Development
  • Bill Coleman, Broadband Coalition

Panel of Storytellers

  • Josh Netland, Emily Telephnoe Co-op
  • Mark Diehl, Little Falls School District
  • Jim Roeder, Lakewood Health

Facilitated by Don Hickman, Initiative Foundation

  • Update from Elected Official (Kresha/Poston)
  • Introduced by Paul Drange, Sourcewell

Small group discussions

  • Are there individual, group or legislator action steps to be taken that
    help communities meet goals/needs over the next 3-5 years?
  • How can local units of government support broadband efforts?
  • What are YOU willing to do? What steps can YOU take?

Recap from small groups and Elected Official (Kresha/Poston) Facilitated by Dawn Espe, R5DC
Next Steps- State Broadband Conference by Bill Coleman, Broadband Coalition

Notes from the Zoom Chat Continue reading

EVENT July 14: Lunch Bunch: Infrastructure chat

Each month the Blandin Foundation hosts two conversation or lunch bunch sessions. The first Lunch Bunch in July happens tomorrow at noon (July 14). It will be an open topic. SO bring in any questions, stories or ideas that you want to explore!

Blandin Broadband Lunch Bunch on Wednesday, July 14 at noon.  Register now!

CenturyLink asks PUC to relax landline repair rules

Twin Cities Pioneer Press reports…

Telecommunications company CenturyLink has asked Minnesota utility regulators to ease a decades-old rule that requires it to give priority for repairs to landline customers, saying the requirement is obsolete in an era dominated by broadband communications.

CenturyLink, a unit of Lumen Technologies, is the largest provider of copper landline phone service in Minnesota and one of the few companies still serving that segment. It petitioned the state’s independent Public Utilities Commission this week to bring its rules up to date, saying customer choices and demands have changed dramatically since the rules were drafted, before the first handheld cellphone appeared on the U.S. market in the 1980s.

Some details on the rule…

The rules set a goal that landline outages should be restored within 24 hours of being reported. CenturyLink says that forces it to spend a disproportionate amount of technician time on landline repairs compared with broadband repairs. And the rules don’t apply to CenturyLink competitors that just provide wireless, internet-based and other broadband communications, which the PUC generally doesn’t regulate.

They have tried to ease these rules in the past…

The PUC considered a similar CenturyLink request in 2014 but held off amid concerns from AARP and the state Department of Commerce about service quality and affordability. CenturyLink says in its new petition that the move by consumers away from copper landlines has only accelerated since then. The company says the most recent federal data show that only 4.4% of Minnesota households now rely solely on landlines for voice service.

If passed, it would help all landline providers…

The rule change CenturyLink seeks would also apply to Frontier Communications and other smaller landline providers in Minnesota, he said.

The request brings up a few topics – first, broadband providers are regulated differently and that’s always been a challenge to the providers and then passed onto the customers. But then they have also received public funding differently. It would be interesting to see an matrix comparing regulation and government inventing in telephone, cable, wireless and other broadband providers.

Also it would be interesting to get some scenarios of who still has a landline. When I’ve asked the most popular answer is – my parents (or grandparents). And that is why the AARP was involved with the decision in 2014. Forbes has an interesting article in January 2020 from a landline user. Some of his reasons were voice clarity, comfort, cost and safety. Safety is the research I remember being used most in 2014, here’s what Forbes said…

A landline phone might be the only phone that is accessible and functional when an emergency strikes. And if you are awoken by an intruder, you probably don’t want to yell “Could you bring me my mobile phone — it’s charging on the kitchen counter?”

Also cell coverage is an issue. In my old house in St Paul, there were certain rooms where my cell phone didn’t work – which may have been partially attributable to thick walls but it didn’t always work in the front yard either. And walking through the same neighborhood as often as I do, I can tell you there are dead zones. Again that’s in St Paul. Driving in rural area I’ve driven through miles of dead zones. Either would feel scary if you were making a life saving call – and that is what the landline phone is designed to do.

EVENT May 20: Signal Centers Accessibility Awareness Summit

Looks like an interesting conference…

Signal Centers Accessibility Awareness Summit on Global Accessibility Awareness Day — next Thursday, May 20th.

Thanks to our sponsors, the event is completely free to attendees: Register here. (Do it!)

Running from 10am to 2.30pm ET, we’re incredibly excited about this year’s packed schedule of speakers and panels, including:

  • Chris Downey, AIA – Keynote at 10am ET: Christopher Downey is an architect, planner and consultant who lost all sight in 2008. Today, he is dedicated to creating more helpful and enriching environments for the blind and visually impaired. His work ranges from a new Department of Veterans Affairs blind rehabilitation center, renovations of housing for the blind in New York City, and to the new Transbay Transit Center in San Francisco. He also teaches accessibility and universal design at UC Berkeley and serves on the Board of Directors for the Lighthouse for the Blind in San Francisco. (TEDx and 60 Minutes)
  • Mia Ives-Rublee – 1pm ET: Mia Ives-Rublee has dedicated her life’s work to civil rights activism. She obtained her Master’s in Social Work at UNC Chapel Hill and began working with individuals with disabilities to help them find work and independence in their communities. Mia is best known for founding the Women’s March Disability Caucus and organizing the original Women’s March on Washington in 2017. As a public speaker, Mia advocates on the national stage for the rights of disabled people, immigrants, and other marginalized communities.
  • Valerie Fletcher – Closing remarks at 1.40pm ET: Valerie Fletcher has been Executive Director since 1998 of the Institute for Human Centered Design (IHCD), founded as Adaptive Environments. Fletcher writes, lectures and works internationally. Fletcher has been a Special Advisor to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and she is the North American representative on the Board of the International Association for Universal Design (IAUD) in Japan. Fletcher has a master’s degree in ethics and public policy from Harvard University.

Comparing Duluth’s market-based broadband solution to Superior’s Municipal open access model

Duluth News Tribune reports…

Superior is considering a $31 million investment in a fiber optic network, while Duluth is prepared to put $1 million on the table as the city weighs its options.

Duluth News Tribune goes on to compare the two cities based on broadband access; it’s a story of market-based solutions and city sponsored open access model.

The story in Duluth…

Duluth Mayor Emily Larson has offered a harsh assessment of the city’s dominant broadband service provider: Spectrum Internet. …

But Larson remains unimpressed and has proposed the city spend $1 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds “to incentivize new service providers to enter the market” and compete with Spectrum. …

Schuchman concurred [with uneven access in Duluth], saying: “I do think one of the challenges we have is that there are areas of the city that do not have broadband, and so, while the city in general does, and we are considered ‘served’ at that point, we also have some gaps. So, it’s really important to the city and the community to close those gaps and make sure that we have equitable distribution of that access and that it is consistent and high-quality.”

Tyler Cooper, editor-in-chief of BroadbandNow, said the situation in the Twin Ports is “unfortunately, a story shared among cities and towns across the U.S.”

“Often, a given provider will own the phone lines, while another will own the cable lines. This creates a de facto duopoly which is one of the central barriers to broadband expansion across the country,” he said

The story in Superior…

Meanwhile, across the river in Superior, aggressive efforts to boost Spectrum’s competition in the Twin Ports are taking even clearer shape. At a Thursday night listening session, representatives of EntryPoint Networks laid out plans to potentially build out an open-access fiber optic network in Superior at an estimated cost of about $31 million. …

“It’s a robust digital road, and it’s open to, in this case, any ISP (internet service provider) that will follow the rules,” Christensen said.

For its part, the city would require users of this fiber network to pay a toll or fee that would be used to help pay off the cost of building and maintaining the system.

Christensen said the fiber network would offer customers speeds of 1 gigabit per second for both downloads and uploads, likely at a monthly cost of about $50, give or take 10%. He said the network would need a minimum of about 3,000 subscribers to be sustainable and is likely to easily exceed that threshold.

The rest of the article outlines the differences, benefits and drawbacks of each approach.

Photo from Duluth News Tribune: A chart taken from a Connect Superior Webinar video on YouTube.

No broadband at Vikings Practice Facility! Or is the map wrong? Expensive mistakes

We need to demand better broadband maps before we invest more government money based on existing broadband maps.

The FCC uses maps to determine who has broadband (served) and who does not (unserved). These maps are created from data supplied by the broadband providers themselves (477 Form). These maps were used to determine which locations were eligible for RDOF (Rural Digital Opportunity Funds) .

Through RDOF LTD Broadband was deemed eligible to receive $1.32 billion in the US, including $312 million in Minnesota to build FTTH to unserved locations. There is some controversy about that decision – but this post isn’t about LTD, it’s about the maps.

Looking at maps where LTD is eligible to received funding, there are some surprises. For example the Vikings Practice Facility shows up as eligible, as does Henry Sibley High School, lots of locations along the highway and spots in commercial portions of suburban Twin Cities – just feet away from areas that were served. And then there are areas where locations seem to be on or under the highway.

The best way to share the info is to share the maps and include context:

  • Census block
  • Number of locations
  • Implied annual support amount for concluding bid for the census block shown in the map. (The money hasn’t been awarded yet – just the opportunity to get the award.)

Census block: 270370607171
105 locations – including Vikings Practice Facility
potential annual award: $11,322.50

Census block: 270370606032
1 location– Henry Sibley High School
potential annual award: $774.90

Census block: 270370604021
4 locations
potential annual award: $1,398.60

Census block: 270370603011
65 locations
potential annual award: $4,270.70
Notes: locations include businesses such as Sportman’s Guide an off and online camping store, parts of BridgePoint Park, a planned industrial park, So St Paul Steel – these places are couched between businesses served by Xfinity.

Census block: 0370601043
18 locations
potential annual award: $445.90
Notes: locations include two banks. Xfinity appears to serve businesses across the street in all directions; CenturyLink serves businesses in three directions

Census block: 270370605081
28 locations – along the highway
potential annual award: $5,360.60

We need to demand better broadband maps before we invest more government money based on existing broadband maps. You can start by contacting the FCC or your policymakers – some have already made strides to get FCC to improve the maps.

EVENT April 13: MN House to discuss broadband: Ways and Means Committee

From an email from the Committee Admin…

AGENDA – Ways and Means Committee – Tuesday, April 13, 9:00am – Remote Hearing by Zoom

NOTE: The committee will recess at 10:25am and reconvene at the Call of the Chair

 

HF1670 (Ecklund) – Labor and Industry omnibus (PENDING REFERRAL)

HF1342 (Noor) – Workforce and Business Development omnibus (PENDING REFERRAL)

  • NOTE: The language of HF1670 (Ecklund) will be added to HF1342 during the hearing

HF14 (Ecklund) Broadband grant program deposit transfer

HF1524 (Sundin) Agriculture omnibus (PENDING REFERRAL)

  • NOTE: The language of HF14 (Ecklund) will be added to HF1524 during the hearing

HF1684 (Hornstein) – Transportation omnibus (PENDING REFERRAL)

HF1076 (Hansen, R.) Environment and Natural Resources omnibus (PENDING REFERRAL)

 

 

Meeting documents will be posted on the House Ways and Means Committee website at https://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/Committees/Home/92029

Public Viewing Information:

This remote hearing will be live-streamed via the House webcast schedule page: https://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/htv/schedule.asp.