Southwest Minnesota Broadband Services (SMBS) receives Courageous Leadership Award

I shared the live unveiling of the award last month during the broadband conference but each of the winners has worked hard and I didn’t do individual posts about each one so I’ll post these local announcements as I see them. This one comes from the Jackson Pilot reports

A Jackson County-based multiple-municipality owned communications utility was recently presented with a prestigious leadership award  by the Blandin Foundation.

Southwest Minnesota Broadband Services received the Courageous Leadership Award at the 15th annual Blandin Foundation broadband conference last week in Nisswa. The SMBS Governing board was honored for its vision and multi-community collaboration in creating a public regional fiber network that serves residential and business customers in eight rural communities.

Broadband Parity Act – use 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up across the board

The Hill reports…

Sens. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) on Friday introduced a bill to create “parity” among the government’s dozens of broadband programs.

The Broadband Parity Act would set one standard for “high-speed internet” across more than 20 programs aimed at improving access to broadband in the U.S. Right now, each program adheres to its own definition of what constitutes speedy internet.

It seems like a good idea – but it seems like they could aim for faster to really create parity in urban and rural areas…

The act would require all of the programs to use the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) definition of “high-speed,” which is 25 megabits per second (mbps) download and 3 mbps upload.

Any areas that do not have access to that internet speed will not be considered “served” under the legislation.

The article does mention mapping, which is an integral part of tracking parity…

The Senate panel advanced legislation to address the issue earlier this year. The Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act would require the FCC to collect more granular and accurate data on how many Americans have access to high-speed internet.

 

EVENT: Startup Pitch Night & Roundtable coming Nov 19 in Willmar MN

If you live near Willmar and have entrepreneurial or innovator tendencies, this might be an event for you. If you don’t live in the area, yet you have entrepreneurial or innovator tendencies or work with people who do, this might give you some good ideas. It comes from WorkUP, a coworking space in WIllmar…

All Startup Alumni, supporters and entrepreneurial fans are invited! This is your chance to hear and learn from a few of our Startup Bootcamp Alumni – two of them graduated recently and one of them went through a couple of years ago and is coming back to share an update. They’ll practice pitching their companies using concepts discovered in the workshop, and we’ll offer support, input and any assistance we can provide to help them be successful. Happy hour beverages and snacks will be provided. Don’t miss it!
Learn more

Smart Rural Community Grant – deadline Dec 31, 2019

Rural Health Info Hub has info on a Smart Rural Community Grant…

The Smart Rural Community Grant provides funding to support the development and implementation of innovative broadband-enabled solutions to support rural commerce, healthcare, public safety, economic development, education, energy, and other community-oriented initiatives.

Eligibility
Telco members of the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association are eligible to apply.
Amount
Up to $5,000.
Application Process

Links to application instructions and frequently asked questions are available on the program website.

Completed applications should be mailed to:

NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association
Smart Rural Community Grant
4121 Wilson Blvd., Suite 1000
Arlington, VA 22203

Applications may also be emailed to smartrural@ntca.org; however, an original signed copy must also be mailed in and postmarked by the deadline date. [Update Nov 11: deadline moved to Dec 31]

Matt Schmit move from MN to help Illinois get broadband

We are sad to see Matt Schmit move but Illinois is lucky to get him. I remember following him around Northern MN on a really cold day in 2013 and he worked on fodder to authorize the first Border to Border Broadband bill. He worked hard and now the (IL) State Journal Register reports on his hard work in Illinois…

The lack of adequate broadband width to properly power computers for homes, schools and businesses is a problem in some rural areas but also in some bigger cities, according to Matt Schmit, new director of the Illinois Office of Broadband in the state’s commerce department.

Schmit, 39, a native of Red Wing, Minnesota, who has served in his home state’s Senate, took his post with the state of Illinois in early September and is now living in Evanston. In his role, he’ll oversee the $420 million the state is spending on broadband as part of the capital plan passed by the General Assembly last spring and being put into effect by the administration of Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

“You tend to see metro areas with better service, but that’s not always the case,” Schmit said in an interview. “There are pockets of poor service in urban areas all over the country.”

Schmit worked to expand broadband reach in Minnesota while in the legislature. He had won a four-year term in 2012 as a rural Democrat, but lost a bid for re-election in 2016. He said he had worked in the legislature to “bring people together and invest in infrastructure.” He said he’s been “blessed to be able to continue the work,” in part as an independent consultant — helping communities get broadband access. He’s also been an academic researcher and university instructor.

What he’d like to see in six years, Schmit said, is “ubiquitous service to all homes, businesses and community anchor institutions around the state. And I think that’s achievable.”

EVENT: MN Rural Broadband Coalition Meeting December 5, 2019

From the MN Broadband Coalition

Minnesota Broadband Coalition Meeting

Thursday, December 5, 2019
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
League of MN Cities – Boardroom
145 University Avenue West – St. Paul, MN 55103
Conference Call Option: 1-866-755-7677
Participant code: 591645

Agenda Coming Soon!

Please RSVP by replying to this email or Emily Murray to indicate attendance or absence.

Mayo Clinic implements telehealth approach for neonatologists

Healthcare IT News reports, starting with the stats…

The new technology connects on the first attempt 96% of the time, compared with 73% for the previous telemedicine carts; with enhanced monitoring and support, tele-neonatology availability is 99%.

They began looking at telehealth approaches for neonatologists in 6 years ago. Here’s how it works…

In October 2016, Mayo Clinic’s tele-neonatology program transitioned from a wired telemedicine cart with hardware CODEC to a proactively monitored, fully supported wireless telemedicine product from vendor InTouch Health.

Care teams in the community hospitals activate tele-neonatology when there is a high-risk delivery or a newborn that requires advanced resuscitation. Providers at the community hospital place the wireless telemedicine device at the newborn’s bedside and call Mayo’s Admission and Transfer Center to request a tele-neonatology consult.

A Mayo Clinic neonatologist then establishes a synchronous, audio/video connection with the care team via the telemedicine device in the room. If the newborn requires transfer to Mayo Clinic’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), the neonatologist can dispatch the transport team to retrieve the patient as part of the tele-neonatology workflow.

They compared two solutions; the article details the results. They also posted some lessons learned…

“The focus of Mayo Clinic’s tele-neonatology program has always been the needs of our neonatal patients, whether they are located in Mayo Clinic Rochester or elsewhere in our region,” Fang said. “By leading with patient care and identifying unmet needs of patients or care teams, organizations can design telemedicine programs that are impactful, effective and highly utilized.”

When developing a tele-neonatology program, the multi-specialty team must consider many factors including service activation and workflow, staff education and training, team building and communication – and the telemedicine technology itself, she advised.

“Our recently published study (McCauley et al, Telemed and e-Health, 2019) focuses on one of these domains, the telemedicine technology,” she said. “We demonstrated that the ITH Lite improved audio quality and ability to connect on first attempt when compared with a wired telemedicine cart. Organizations should consider the reliability of connection, audio/video quality, and fit within the care environment when selecting a technology for their tele-neonatology program.”

In addition, proactive monitoring is broader than hardware and network monitoring, she cautioned. In this study, incidents were not only identified by vendor monitoring of the devices but also during care team and physician training, tele-neonatology simulation sessions, and physician on-call preparation activities.

“When developing a tele-neonatology program,” Fang concluded, “organizations should consider comprehensive support models for incident management and tracking.”