Weave Got Maille in Ada credited in Inc Mag for better broadband a jobs!

Just what kind of impact can one super niche internet business have in a community? Well ask Ada. Inc. Magazine just credited Ada’s own Weave Got Maille for better broadband and more jobs. (We wrote about them in 2015 too.)

Weave Got Maille manufactures chain mail supplies – tiny rings. Founder Edie Ramstad thought she’d be making 1,000 a day – turns out she does 2-3 million a day! But it was the business that almost wasn’t or at least almost wasn’t in Ada. Inc reports on some issues…

Lack of machinery was just one problem facing Ramstad, who at one point almost gave up, thwarted by Ada’s sparse infrastructure. Founded in 2012, Weave Got Maille was the first nonagricultural manufacturer in this farm town of around 1,600 people, 45 miles northeast of Fargo. “You can’t be an internet business with a post office that closes at 2 o’clock and puts a limit on how much you send because the mail carrier doesn’t have a very big car,” Ramstad says.

And unfortunately success only magnified the issues…

But the demand strained a business that, back then, operated out of a building in the middle of a wheat field. Ada is a county seat; but a few years ago it had only dial-up internet. The local post office turned away Ramstad’s business because it couldn’t handle the volume. As she struggled alone with infrastructure constraints and new challenges, like managing a scaling workforce, she grew increasingly frustrated.

But it turned around after Ramstad attended 1 Million Cups event in Fargo. They she got inspired and networked in with people who were also inspired and inspiring. Some of those stepped in to help her get the better broadband she needed…

Someone from Kauffman reached out to North Dakota senator Heidi Heitkamp on Ramstad’s behalf; Heitkamp asked the U.S. postmaster general to intercede with the Ada branch to increase its hours. After hearing Ramstad address a later 1 Million Cups event, the mayor of Fargo advised the governor of Minnesota to bring fiber to Ada. “Three years ago, the kids here could not even do their homework online,” Ramstad says. “Now we have good internet.”

Blandin makes Broadband Communities Mag FTTH Top 100

Broadband Communities Mag has an annual list of the top 100 organizations that make Fiber to the Home possible for communities. Here’s what they look for:

In selecting the FTTH Top 100, the editors looked for organizations that advance the cause of fiber-based broadband by

* Deploying networks that are large or ambitious, have innovative business plans or are intended to transform local economies or improve communities’ quality of life

*Supplying key hardware, software or services to deployers

Introducing innovative technologies with game-changing potential, even if they have not yet been commercially deployed

*Providing key conditions for fiber builds, such as early-stage support or demand aggregation.

They include a nice quote from Kathy Annette…

“Rural leaders know that to have strong economies, quality education and health care, and lifestyle options, broadband is necessary. After years of hard work, Minnesota is seeing the impact of partnerships among community leaders, state funders and community-minded providers. This winning combination is the way forward to connected communities that work for all.” – Dr. Kathleen Annette, President and CEO, Blandin Foundation

And here is what they say about Blandin…

Blandin Foundation www.blandinfoundation.org 877-882-2257 Key Products: Grant making, community leadership development, public policy programs Summary: Since 1941, the Blandin Foundation, a private foundation based in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, has been dedicated to strengthening rural Minnesota communities. Its Broadband Initiative, launched in 2003, helps communities educate citizens about the need for ultra-high-speed broadband and plan and execute broadband projects. The foundation has published informational guides, sponsored conferences and educational events, and supported many feasibility studies for the development of robust, high-speed broadband networks. It has supported implementation of broadband applications in schools, health care facilities and other institutions and for home-based users and has promoted broadband adoption in rural communities. In 2018, Blandin will select eight rural Minnesota communities for two-year partnerships with the foundation to advance local broadband initiatives.

The list includes a few Minnesota entities. You can check them out.

Fixed wireless project in Southeast Minnesota to start later this summer

Wallaces Farmer recently posted details on the fixed wireless happening in Southeast MN. The describe fixed wireless…

Fixed wireless broadband works in a similar fashion to cellphone communication with towers carrying a signal. Customers of fixed wireless broadband have a radio at a fixed location, maybe at home, on their farm or at a business, that communicates to an antenna on a nearby tower. Signals can be sent through a line of site to the tower approximately 5 to 7 miles depending on the strength of the radio.

And the team working on it…

Earlier this summer a unique partnership between Mabel Cooperative Telephone Co., MiEnergy Cooperative and Spring Grove Communications was announced that will bring expanded broadband access to rural residents, businesses and communities in northeast Iowa and southeast Minnesota. …

With the partnership announcement, MiEnergy Cooperative is joining Mabel Cooperative Telephone Co. and Spring Grove Communications in ownership of Harmony Telephone Co. From this partnership a new company called MiBroadband will be formed.

And the importance of broadband…

“Improved broadband access in rural areas will change the dynamic and outcome of rural America,” Finstad adds. “At USDA, we are always looking for ways to create a vibrant and future-looking community that has vitality and that can compete in a global market. This partnership is creating opportunities for families like mine to be here in rural Minnesota for generations to come.”

Gubernatorial candidate Erin Murphy visits Worthington talks about broadband

The Worthington Globe reports

Gubernatorial hopeful Erin Murphy is focused on building toward the future, which means investing in priorities like health care, child care, education, infrastructure and broadband.

And gets into a little of the details…

Continuing with the theme of investment, Murphy said she would dedicate new revenue from online sales taxes — in lieu of the Wayfair v. South Dakota Supreme Court case that allows states to tax all online sales — to expand the state’s broadband infrastructure.

Adoption is decreasing in rural areas. Benefit of broadband comes from access and use

Roberto Gallardo just released info on broadband adoption in rural, urban and suburban areas. There are lots of caveats to the research – it’s from 2015-2016, based on geographic definitions from 2010 and adoption means accessing broadband at speeds of 10 Mbps down and a1 Mbps up. BUT those are the best numbers out there right now.

So first the good news – adoption rates are improving…

In 2016, 15.4 percent or 48.9 million people lived in low adoption neighborhoods, down from almost one-fifth in 2015. So, yes an improvement.

Then the bad news – that improvement has not been evenly distributed. I think his chart makes this info most accessible. He shows levels of low adoption in rural, urban and suburban areas. As you can see below, low adoption decreased in urban and suburban areas but increased in rural areas.

Here’s where having that lower speed definition of broadband helps focus the attention on adoption. According to the Office of Broadband Development 94+ percent of Minnesota households have access to 10/1 speeds. That hasn’t decreased. Access isn’t an issue. The issue is helping people realize the value of broadband. Helping them learn how to use it.

Primary race in 15B draws two candidates that list broadband as a top priority

The St Cloud Times reports on the Primary Race in 15B…

Republicans made up their minds already on the most contested Central Minnesota House seat, but Democratic voters have a chance to pick between two candidates in Tuesday’s primary.

Karla Scapanski has the DFL endorsement. She’s being challenged by former Bernie Sanders delegate Jessica Filiaggi.

Looks like both candidates have broadband at the top of their list…

Scapanski has worked as a dairy farmer, child care provider and community advocate. Her top issues include broadband access and job training, education and ending unfunded government mandates.

Filiaggi lives in Foley and works at a credit union. She wants to work on health care and rural issues, including broadband access, infrastructure development, transportation and sustainable jobs, Filiaggi told the St. Cloud Times in June.

Governor Dayton support Erin Murphy – mentions broadband plan

Governor Dayton had a Letter to the Editor in the Minneapolis Star Tribune…

Erin believes that Minnesota must work well for everyone throughout our state. Her plan to connect all of Minnesota to high-speed broadband would open new opportunities for students, small-business owners and everyone else in Greater Minnesota. She wants to bring the State Capitol to the people, by opening up regional offices across the state.