The Minnesota Broadband Task Force report was released in December 2012. Subsequently, broadband and telecommunications are expected to be hot topics with the Minnesota Legislature this year. The impact will have an effect on businesses and communities alike as broadband is expected to be a hot political topic.
In the last month, the Blandin on Broadband blog highlighted several stories related to policy and business of broadband:
- Minnesota Broadband Task Force releases broadband recommendations: The 2012 Task Force report emphatically reminds policymakers that a concerted effort must be made if Minnesota is going to reach the broadband goals for 2015: 5-10 Mbps upload/10-20 Mbps download.
- A report from the TechNet State Broadband Index ranks Minnesota 19th in broadband use and deployment, backing up the Task Force notion that more must be done to improve ranking. One suggestion is to establish an ongoing, post-Task Force entity within state government for high-speed broadband-focused efforts.
- Senator Klobuchar asks the FCC to look into call completion issues, especially with online voice service providers who seem hesitant to complete calls that might results in a termination fee. This is a greater issue in rural areas.
- The Blandin Foundation selects new communities to focus on improving broadband use in their area. The Blandin Foundation is introducing those communities by focusing on their plans for the future. To date the following communities have been introduced: Fond du Lac Band of Ojibwe, Kanabec County, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and Southwest Minnesota Broadband Group.
- Arvig is installing fiber from Farmington to Rochester and create more digital infrastructure for this part of the state.
- HealthEast plans to spend $135 million over five years on a new electronic health record system for its St. Paul-based network of hospitals and clinics.
- Open Twin Cities, a group for civic hackers, innovative government employees, and concerned citizens, code a local edition of Adopt-a-Hydrant, which allows residents to claim a fire hydrant to keep clear of snow so that fire fighters will be able to fight fires more effectively in emergencies.