Governor’s Task Force on Broadband full notes for March 2015: security, infrastructure and the Internet of big things

We learned a lot about security, infrastructure and the Internet of big things today – things like bridges and cars. On the one hand it is exciting to hear about how broadband can be used to do ongoing monitoring of bridges to make us safer and can help guide cars to improve environmental impacts, time in traffic jams and again safety. On the other hand it’s daunting to hear how vulnerable it makes us to have everything become so automated and access to operating  systems and data become easier to get through technology.

I have full notes – but am hoping to add PPTs later if I can. The Task Force tried something new – at the end of this post, they each told about what they found most remarkable in the meeting. (A nice shortcut to what transpired.)

[added 3/26]

Thanks to the Office of Broadband Development for post the PPTs online:

[added 4/17]

Thanks to the OBD, a couple more PPTs:

<!–Broadband Task Force

Crash Help Case Study – Lee Munnich Presentation

Bridge Monitoring – Shield Presentation

Continue reading

Minnesota Broadband Task Force meets today at 10 am

Sorry for the late notice. I will be there taking notes…

March 19, 2015
Humphrey School of Public Affairs
University of Minnesota
301 19th Ave. South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
10 a.m. – 3 p.m

10:00 – 10:15 a.m. Introductions/Public Comments/Approval of Minutes from February 18, 2015 meeting

10:15 – 10:30 a.m. Update from Office of Broadband Development

10:30 – 11:00 a.m. Review of the February 18, 2015 Meeting Summary
For inclusion in the annual report.

11:00 – 11:30 a.m. Telecommuting: Required Conditions and How it Benefits Everyone
Frank Douma and Adeel Lari, Humphrey School of Public Affairs; University of Minnesota

11:30 – 12:00 p.m. The Role of Broadband in Bridge Monitoring in Minnesota
Carol Shield, Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo-Engineering; University of Minnesota

12:00 – 12:30 p.m. Lunch

12:30 – 1:00 p.m. The Role of Wireless in Rural Emergency Response:
CrashHelp Case Study
Lee Munnich, Humphrey School of Public Affairs; University of Minnesota

1:30 – 2:00 p.m. Collision Course: Hackers and the Automated Car
Brian Isles, Adventium Labs and Senior Fellow, Technology Leadership Institute; University of Minnesota

2:00 – 2:30 p.m. Meeting Summary Discussion
2:30 – 3:00 p.m. Task Force Member Thank You and Wrap-Up

MN Broadband Task Force Notes Feb 2015: Role of Government

This month the Minnesota Broadband Task Force met at MNSCU. They heard from several folks in government – from MNIT, County IT, libraries, schools and healthcare. A couple of themes emerged. First, Minnesota tends to like to leave decisions up to the most local authority. Public and private partnerships will be necessary to meet continually expanding broadband needs – even if that partnership is really local government serving as anchor tenant to entice a private provider to come into an area.

Here are the full notes: Continue reading

2014 MN Broadband Task Force is out: recommends $200 million for infrstructure grants

The 2014 Minnesota Broabdand Task Force report is out. The highlights are:

  • Minnesota will not meet the 2015 goals of 10-20 Mbps down and 5-10 Mbps up. Right now 78.16 percent of Minnesota households have such broadband speeds available via wireline providers and 88.90 percent when mobile wireless service is included.
  • They are recommending funding for the Office of Broadband Development ($2.9 million) and for more Border to Border Infrastructure Grants ($200 million)

The focus on further funding from a group that has been successful in recommending it in the past is very exciting! The proposed $200 million doesn’t touch the estimated $900 million to $3.2 billion to build ubiquitous broadband but funding gets people to the table to discuss solutions!

2015 chart 2

Here are their specific recommendations:

The Task Force strongly encourages policy makers and legislators to give serious consideration to advancing its recommendations to further the deployment and adoption of broadband. They include the following and are detailed on page 8:

  • Authorize $2.9 million for the Office of Broadband Development
  • Authorize $200 million for a Border to Border Infrastructure Grant Program
  • Create an Office of Broadband operating fund to promote broadband adoption and use
  • Increase School and Library Telecommunications Aid for the 2016-17 biennium
  • Expand video health care and telemedicine initiatives for 3rd party payer reimbursement
  • Support efforts of schools utilizing 1:1 devices via development of best practices
  • Make sales tax exemption for telecommunications permanent
  • Review existing permitting criteria to see where there might be possibilities to streamline

Digging in a little deeper… Affordability

The report opens the doors to many meaty discussions in 2015 – the most interesting I think it affordability at the household and community level.

2015 mapI noticed that while the stats are given for coverage with and without inclusion of wireless connections in the reports, the introductory letter refers only to the stats that include wireless coverage. (There’s a 10-point differential in the numbers.) The difference may unearth an issue that has come up in Task Force meetings. The Task Force is technology agnostic but the inherent costs in wireless connections (data caps for end users) raise the question – should affordability factor into the accessibility equation? The subject is broached on page 11 where the report states that this will be a topic of further discussion in 2015. It will be an interesting discussion!

And affordability isn’t only an issue at the hosuehold level. The root of the issue in rural areas is cost of backhaul to rural areas. (And the Task Force recognized that access is largely a rural issue on page 10.) The report outlines the issue…

A provider in metropolitan Hennepin County currently pays about $.50 per Megabit to connect to the Internet backbone; the average cost of three providers in rural Pennington County is $15.33 per Megabit to connect to the Internet backbone.

Making the situation more challenging for all providers, there is a great discrepancy in the number of potential customers in Hennepin County versus Pennington County; population density in Hennepin County is 2,081.7/sq. mi and in Pennington County it is 22.6/sq. mi. Median income (2009-2013) also differs: in Hennepin County it is $64,403 and in Pennington County it’s $45,633. For these reasons and more, the business case for offering broadband in Pennington County Falls is far more challenging than in Hennepin County.

Digging Deeper – role of government

At a time where there is a lot of discussion on the balance of public and private partnerships (I posted two views on the issue last week – one form the private sector and one from the public) for broadband these recommendations are private-friendly. There’are recommendations for sales tax exemption and streamlining permitting. There is no discussion on the laws on the book that make it more difficult for a municipality to become a broadband provider. (That is the type of issue that President Obama targeted in his speech in Cedar Falls two weeks ago and therefore it may be addressed by the FCC.)

Digging Deeper – adoption (and more affordability)

The Connect Minnesota reports on adoption – specifically the barriers to home adoption – are valuable in determining what could be useful in closing the digital divide. Cost it turns out is the top issue. (Good news – the Washington Post claimed a 15 percent discount in monthly fees would persuade a third of non-adopters to look again.) The report offers some other suggestions for adoption on page 23.

Minnesota ranking for connectivity/speed does not meet the 2015 goals. Broadband adoption does. At least according to NTIA reports, Minnesota ranks fifth for adoption with 82.4 percent. As a national study, they aren’t using the Minnesota state definition of broadband but probably the national definition (4 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up). The report itself seems to use Internet and broadband interchangeably. (They ask “if” you’re connect; then ask how but the options include dialup and satellite.)

So while it’s good to know that Minnesotans are adopting – this survey doesn’t take speed or access to broadband (as opposed to satellite or dialup) into consideration. So it’s difficult to know when access to better broadband or cost of better broadband might be a barrier.

Looking forward…

Having gone to Task Force meeting for years, I can tell you that affordability and role of government have consistently been two of the most difficult questions to discuss. Building upon the good work of prior Task Forces, the current Task Force has been successful is establishing an Office of Broadband Development and garnering state grants for broadband expansion. (Both discussed in the report.) It will be interesting to see what happens to these issues in 2015.

Minnesota Broadband Task Force Notes from Jan 21, 2015: History Live & Legislative update

The Task Force met at the History Center this month. It was a fun opportunity to see History Live – the History Center’s online class offerings. It was great to see a class of fourth graders enthusiastically learning about the MN history with the help of a great teacher and a lot of technology.

A couple of legislators stopped in with updates and predictions. They mentioned that there is strong, bipartisan support for continued broadband funding. There were a couple of numbers batter around from $100-200 million.

The Office of Broadband Development will soon announce the recipients of the MN Broadband Fund. The decision is currently in the hands of the Governor. Continue reading

Tomorrow (Jan 21) Minnesota Broadband Task Force meeting in St Paul

I will be there to take notes – but always good to see others there too…

Governor’s Task Force on Broadband
January 21, 2015
Minnesota History Center—Irvine Conference Room
345 W. Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102

  • 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
  • 10:00 AM – 10:10 AM Welcome/Approval of Minutes and Public Comments
  • 10:10 AM – 10:30 AM Update from the Office of Broadband Development
  • 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM History Live! Presentation from MN History Center
  • 12:00 PM – 12:45 PM Lunch; on your own. Café Minnesota on site.
  • 12:45 PM – 2:00 PM Discussion/Q & A with Legislators
  • 2:00 PM – 2:45 PM 2015 Work Plan, Meeting Dates, Topics and Locations, and Task Force Appointment Process
  • 2:45 PM – 3:00 PM Other Business, Adjournment

Minnesota Broadband Task Force – 15 positions are open

This came up at the last broadband task force meeting … the Task Force members, by default, have had three-year appointments and those three years are up. So apparently the Task Force members will be asked to reapply – but those seats are actually open to everyone. So if you’re interested the opportunity was mentioned in the Secretary of State Vacancy listing

GOVERNOR’S TASK FORCE ON BROADBAND  1ST NATIONAL BANK BUILDING  332 MINNESOTA STREET, SUITE E200 ‐ 5TH FLOOR  ST PAUL, MN 55101  651‐259‐7613  EXECUTIVE ORDER 11‐27  Appointing: Governor  Compensation: None  Vacancies: Fifteen Vacancies including Fifteen Members.  To develop, implement and promote state broadband policy, planning and initiatives to achieve State broadband needs and  goals.  Inventory, assess and report on various aspects of broadband.  Develop a Minnesota Broadband Plan outline.   Membership includes a maximum of 15 members, representative of both metro and greater Minnesota.  A balance of  broadband interests, include: consumers, education institutions, health care institutions, telephone companies, cable  companies, wireless companies, metropolitan areas and rural areas.  Meetings will be held at least monthly in St. Paul.

MN Broadband Task Force Meeting Dec 2014: Full Notes, a report and recommendation for $200 Million

Yesterday the Task Force held the last meeting before their big annual report is due. Like last year – some of the meatiest discussion of the year happened at the end of the year. The Task Force seems to agree on so much:

  1. public private partnership will be required to meet state broadband goals
  2. the goals set years ago are outdated
  3. affordability is a bigger issue than access.

BUT the devil is in the details and that’s where people disagree AND the disagreement often taps into definitions and ideologies that are larger than the topic at hand…

  1. What is the role of state government? Does broadband need state funding, different regulation or should government have ability to run networks?
  2. What speeds are appropriate? Do we look to the feds who currently use much slower definitions than MN does? Do we look at international definitions even though they have different regulatory structures?
  3. What is affordable? And are we talking affordable for a home, business or community?

The differences seem larger in black and white, so there seems to be a desire to stay vague in the report so that everyone can agree – but I suspect that leaves some parties feeling lukewarm about the report. Whereas the original report focused on hard fought compromise, this report comes less from compromise and more from general softening of all sides. That being said – this report (and the report last year) has a pointed recommendation for funds. That recommendation was successful last year and signs point to fertile ground again this year. And I think everyone on the Task Force feels that’s a good thing.

Governor’s Task Force on Broadband December 9, 2014 DEED –
James J. Hill Conference Room
1st National Bank Building 332
Minnesota Street Saint Paul, MN, 55101-1351

10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m – Full Notes & Video…

Continue reading

Minnesota Broadband Task Force Meeting Dec 9 Agenda

The Broadband Task Force is meeting next Tuesday. I’ll be taking notes – but there’s always room for more…

Governor’s Task Force on Broadband
December 9, 2014
DEED – James J. Hill Conference Room
1st National Bank Building
332 Minnesota Street
Saint Paul, MN, 55101-1351

10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m

10:00 a.m. – 10:10 a.m. – Welcome/Approval of Minutes/Public Comments

10:10 a.m. – 10:20 a.m.   – Update from Office of Broadband Development

10:20 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Review of Task Force Report Draft

12:00 p.m. – 12:45 p.m. –  Lunch Provided for Task Force Members

12:45 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. –  Review of Task Force Report Draft

2:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. –  Upcoming Meeting Details and Adjournment

Minnesota Broadband Task Force October Meeting Notes and Draft Report

I am thrilled to be able to share the draft report discussed today at the Broadband Task Force meeting. The final iteration of the report will be the annual report sent to DEED from the Task Force and includes recommendations for legislators and others. Much of what was recommended last year was put into motion based on the report – and with help from a myriad of supporters. So it is a powerful document.

Most of the meeting was spent going through the report. Hopefully the notes below will make sense – generally the remarks are pretty detailed. BUT there were a couple of higher level discussions that arose from the reading of the report.

Task members realized that there was a need to talk about the changing landscape for broadband – much of this revolved around affordability and wireless access. Wireless broadband increases ubiquity and offers mobility but the pricing structure can make it a much less practical solution for lower income households. Ironically, the “startup” fee for wireless access (which might be a smartphone versus a laptop) is lower with wireless, which adds another difficult dimension.

Also there seems to be general agreement that the state will not reach the broadband goals in 2015. The question is – so then what? Should the Task Force make recommendation for updated goals or wait until the Legislature asked for recommendations on updated goals. It seems as if they will wait until the request comes to make the recommendation.

Aside from the report we also learned that the Office of Broadband Development added staff (congrats Jane Leonard) and received 40 applications for grant funding from the Border to Border Broadband Fund. Below is the video update from the OBD…

Continue reading

Minnesota Broadband Task Force Sep 25 Agenda

Governor’s Task Force on Broadband
September 25, 2014
The Arvig Building
2nd Floor – Don Swenson Room
150 Second Street SW Perham, MN 56573
12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

NOTE: Lunch will be provided beginning at 11:30.


12 – 12:15 –         Welcome/Approval of Minutes/Update from Office of Broadband Development


12:15 – 1:00 –      Presentation from Arvig


1:00 – 1:45 –        Video Presentation by John Deere – Mark Lewellen


1:45 – 2:45 –        Task Force Annual Report Review and Discussion of Subgroup Recommendations

2:45 – 3:00 –        Upcoming Meeting Details and Adjournment

Gov signs Minnesota broadband bill

The message is short, but sweet…

The Minnesota Broadband Bill was signed into law Monday (April 26, 2010) by Governor Pawlenty.

And just for the archive, here is the text that was presented to the Governor according to the Minnesota Session Law site

CHAPTER 277–H.F.No. 2907
An act relating to communications; setting state goals for the deployment and speed of high-speed broadband; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 237.

Section 1. [237.012] BROADBAND GOALS.
Subdivision 1. Universal access and high-speed goal. It is a state goal that as soon as possible, but no later than 2015, all state residents and businesses have access to high-speed broadband that provides  minimum download speeds of ten to 20 megabits per second and minimum upload speeds of five to ten megabits per second. Subd. 2. State broadband leadership position. It is a goal of the state that by
2015 and thereafter, the state be in:
(1) the top five states of the United States for broadband speed universally accessible to residents and businesses;
(2) the top five states for broadband access; and
(3) the top 15 when compared to countries globally for broadband penetration.
Subd. 3. Annual reports. The commissioner of commerce must annually by February 10 report on the achievement of the goals under subdivisions 1 and 2 to the chairs and ranking minority members of the legislative committees with primary jurisdiction over telecommunication issues. The report on goals under subdivision 1 must be made through 2015.

End of the Broadband Task Force

The Minnesota Ultra High Speed Task Force is happily closing up shop. Rick King, the Task Force Chair , has posted a nice parting note on the Task Force web site. Here’s an excerpt…

Well, we did it. And today, almost two years after its inception, the Ultra High-Speed Broadband Task Force ceases to exist. In what seems like the perfect farewell gift, the Minnesota Legislature will very likely approve a bill capturing our recommendations, and the Governor will sign it into law in the next two weeks.

The Task Force studied broadband in Minnesota and came up with recommendations for the State. As Rick’s note indicates, the bill is currently at the Legislature. It has passed in the House about a week ago and the Senate is expected to look at it after the break.

I had the unusual pleasure of attending almost all of the Task Force’s monthly meetings as a blogging fly on the wall. I think Rick and the whole Task Force did an amazing job. There were some strange bedfellows in the room but the goal was a consensus report and that is what they were able to present. I remember the first meeting I attended and there was a lot of discussion on use of technology, transparency, data practices and open meetings. They’ve come a long way! There were a couple of meetings where the discussion got passionate, but almost disappointingly for those of us who attended every daylong meeting, the sparks were few and far between.

There were a few wrong roads or false starts in the process. The opportunity brought about by ARRA funding led to a diversion in the discussion but I think the group wisely decided that they couldn’t take on the stimulus funds as well as complete recommendations in the time allowed. The team focused and accomplished the goal by being realistic and pragmatic – and I think that has carried through to the recommendations, which are also realistic and pragmatic.

Minnesota Broadband Bill Passes!

I don’t have a ton more to say about it but the Minnesota broadband passed today. The vote was 118 to 15.

Here’s the text…

1.6 Section 1. [237.012] BROADBAND GOALS.
1.7 Subdivision 1. Universal access and high-speed goal. It is the goal of this state
1.8that, no later than 2015, all state residents and businesses have access to broadband that
1.9provides download speeds of no less than ten megabits per second and upload speeds
1.10of no less than five megabits per second.
1.11 Subd. 2. State broadband leadership position. It is the goal of this state that by
1.122015, and continuing thereafter:
1.13(1) the proportion of Minnesota residents and businesses having access to broadband
1.14ranks among the five states in the United States and the 15 nations globally that have the
1.15highest proportion of that measure; and
1.16(2) Minnesota ranks among the five states in the United States with the highest
1.17broadband speed that is universally accessible to state residents and businesses.
1.18 Subd. 3. Annual reports. By February 10, 2011, and each year thereafter, the
1.19commissioner of commerce shall submit a report to the chairs and ranking minority
1.20members of the house of representatives and senate committees with primary jurisdiction
1.21over telecommunications policy measuring the progress made towards achieving the
1.22goals under subdivisions 1 and 2. The report must identify any barriers impeding the
1.23achievement of the goals, suggest strategies to overcome those barriers, and estimate
1.24the cost of implementing those strategies.
2.1 Subd. 4. Advisory group. By July 1, 2010, the commissioner of commerce shall
2.2appoint and convene a broadband advisory group consisting of no more than 15 members
2.3representing suppliers and users of broadband goods and services. Members serve without
2.4compensation at the pleasure of the commissioner. The broadband advisory group shall
2.5meet at the call of the chair, and shall seek public input. The broadband advisory group
2.6shall advise the commissioner of commerce and the house of representatives and senate
2.7committees with primary jurisdiction over telecommunications policy regarding strategies
2.8to achieve the goals under subdivision 1. This subdivision expires June 30, 2015.
2.9EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment.

Minnesota Broadband bill through Gov Ops

The update today is short but sweet, not much posted on the Legislative web site yet, but…

The House version of the broadband bill was voted out of the Government Operations Reform, Technology and Elections Committee yesterday and is now heading for scheduling on the floor. We should see action on the floor of each chamber next week or more likely the week after.