BROADBAND & INTERNET-BASED TECHNOLOGIES
Region Six-East counties and communities need to advance the use of high bandwidth technologies and services to help compete within the global economy. To that end, the Mid-Minnesota Development Commission (MMDC) is one of the partners in the Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities Initiative (MIRC). The Blandin Foundation was awarded a federal stimulus grant in 2010 to work with numerous partners throughout Minnesota in this MIRC initiative. The goal of the project is to:
“Help create technologically and economically vital rural communities, competing and thriving in the broadband economy, with sustainable broadband adoption, job growth, and wealth creation.”
A significant gap exists between rural and urban adoption rates in Minnesota – in both business and home environments. This web page will help to identify programs, technologies and services that are available to encourage their effective use to foster economic competitiveness and quality of life to advance the future vitality within the Region.
Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities
- Blandin Foundation Programs
For more information visit the Blandin Foundation website or contact Bill Coleman 651.491.2551;
Community Broadband Resources (CBR) Program
CBR is a popular Blandin Foundation program that offers up to 32 hours of flexible technical assistance to communities to determine appropriate next steps towards their technology vitality.
This Blandin Foundation program provides up to $50,000 in matching funds to support projects that use new broadband applications. Applications can be between institutions (schools, health care facilities, etc.) or from institutions to home users.
Robust Broadband Networks Feasibility Fund
A Blandin Foundation program that provides matching funds for feasibility studies of geographically-based broadband networks. Individual communities can apply for up to $25,000 in matching funds; up to $40,000 in matching funds is available for applications that serve multiple communities.
The Broadband Toolkit puts at your fingertips hundreds of cutting edge applications for the business, government, education, health care, and consumer sectors. The Toolkit also includes sections on technology market development, community assistance, and community networks.
PCs for People
Since 1998, PCs for People has been providing personal computers and targeted computer training to people who have limited experience with technology due to social, physical, and/or economic circumstances. Contact: Casey Sorensen 651.354.2552;
Technology related community economics education and technical assistance to help communities answer key economic development questions about broadband and the future. Contact: Joyce Hoelting 612-625-8233;
Minnesota Renewable Energy Marketplace (MNREM)
MNREM provides training, outreach, and technical assistance for small rural renewable energy businesses. Teresa Kittridge, 952.454.7211;
Minnesota Workforce Centers
The Centers help job seekers find employment, help businesses find workers, and help anyone explore and plan careers. MIRC provides increased and expanded training opportunities and hours of operations at Workforce Centers across Minnesota. Contact: Kathy Sweeney, 651-259-7565;
MN Learning Commons
MN Learning Commons helps students, educators, advisors, and parents understand and access options for public education and classes online. MIRC supports the MN Learning Commons is a project to create, deliver and promote a knowledge worker online course. Contact: Gary Langer, 651-649-5772;
The Intelligent Community Framework
Robert Bell of the Intelligent Community Forum created the Intelligent Community framework, which links the five pillars of broadband, knowledge workers, innovation, digital inclusion, and marketing/advocacy into a new way of promoting broadband-based economic development. The Blandin Broadband Initiative states that the “Intelligent Community helps to answer the question that many rural communities are asking ‘Why is broadband an essential utility like roads, sewer and water systems, and airports?’ Communities around Minnesota and the world are using the Intelligent Community approach to bring together local and regional leaders of education, business, and government to strategically leverage their assets to be better able to compete in the global economy.”
To learn more about the Intelligent Community Framework visit the Intelligent Community Forum’s web site.
Minnesota Ultra High Speed Broadband Report
In 2008 the State of Minnesota passed legislation forming the Minnesota High-Speed Broadband Task Force. Their charge was to develop a plan to achieve having all Minnesotans having access to high-speed broadband by 2015. The following are some of the goals the Task Force is recommending in their Minnesota Ultra High-Speed Broadband Report: (Taken from the Report’s Executive Summary)
- Minnesota should have ubiquitous (every home and business in the state) high-speed broadband coverage as soon as possible but no later than 2015.
- At a minimum, we recommend speeds of 10-20 Megabits per second (Mbps) (download) and 5-10 Mbps (upload) for all residents of the state by 2015. Additionally, they recommend Minnesota should aspire to be:
- In the top 5 states of the United States for overall speed
- In the top 5 states for broadband penetration
- In the top 15 when compared to countries for global broadband penetration
- They outline financial incentives to support both the supply and demand sides of broadband.
- They make detailed recommendations for the enhanced security and redundancy of the existing infrastructure.
- They recommend the creation of a Broadband Advisory Council for Minnesota (BACM) to oversee the actions put forth in the report and to see that these objectives are achieved.
- They recommend that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopt a higher standard for the definition of broadband. The current definition is 768 kilobits per second (kbps).
The full final report may be downloaded from the Minnesota Ultra High Speed website.
Broadband Bibliography from the Blandin Foundation
Reports & Research:
Broadband Applications & Rural Supporters:
Keep up on Broadband with Blandin Broadband Tools:
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