Minnesota Broadband and Biz: October 2013

by Ann Treacy

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Blandin FoundationThe Blandin Foundation is working with Senator Matt Schmit of Red Wing on a series of open discussions on broadband issue between November 11-15 in various rural Minnesota locations.

In the last month, the Blandin on Broadband blog highlighted stories on rural broadband efforts in Minnesota including broadband uses for business and the business of broadband.

Broadband for Business:

Connect Minnesota reports that Minnesota businesses earn $38 billion from online sales; yet only 40 percent of businesses earn money from online sales.

Cyber security experts convened at the annual Minnesota Cyber Security Summit to discuss trends and policies. They also noted that Minnesota could be poised to become a center for the cyber security industry.

Rural Solutions in Lac qui Parle County talks about the impact fiber has had on their community and their business.

Comcast supports CoCo’s entrepreneurial community by providing CoCo with its 1Gbps fiber service.

Business of Broadband:

The Blandin Foundation testified to US Senate Committee about the importance of broadband adoption as well as deployment in rural areas. The discussion spurs comment from Senator Amy Klobuchar as well.

At the Minnesota Broadband Task Force monthly meeting, the members discussed recommendations and priorities for an upcoming Task Force report for Minnesota legislators. The recommendations were heavy on adoption strategies, tax exemptions for providers and streamlining deployment regulations for providers.

Local independent telecom companies met last month to discuss policies and trends in the industry at the Minnesota Telecom Alliance Annual meeting. They celebrated Minnesota being home to two National Smart Rural Communities, awarded by NTCA- the Rural Broadband Association.

TDS announces that part of its ARRA-funded broadband project in Cass County, around Hackensack and Backus is now accessible to some residents and businesses.

Businesses from across Mille Lacs County, representing all sectors of the community met in late October to help set the community’s path forward on broadband. Mille Lacs County is a Blandin Broadband Community.

Charter Communications is expanding in Rochester; they employ 800 people in the Rochester area and are moving into a larger office space in January 2014.

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