Minnesota Broadband and Biz: May 2013

by Ann Treacy


Blandin Foundation_1Another national report came out highlighting the top broadband states in the US. Again, Minnesota does not make the list. Some strides were made in Legislation that might improve broadband (Office of Broadband Development), but other tax-related decisions were made that might hinder growth.

The business of building broadband continues but is Minnesota keeping up?

In the last month, the Blandin on Broadband blog highlighted several stories on broadband in Minnesota:

• The Legislature establishes an Office of Broadband Development to be housed at the Department of Employment and Economic Development. The director will be appointed by the Governor.

The telecom industry is unhappy with recent changes to Minnesota tax law. The Minnesota Telecom Alliance recently spoke about the potential impact of repealing the sale exemption for Central Office Equipment as a hindrance for broadband deployment.

The Minnesota Broadband Task Force welcomes two new members: Fred Underwood, Director of IT at ond du Lac and Andrea Casselton, Director of IT for St Paul. The May meeting focuses on the impact and potential impact of broadband on healthcare and healthcare providers in Minnesota.

• Rural Minnesota residents believe improved technology could assist with job retention and creation and feel their local area works together to maintain and grow job opportunities according to the 2013 Rural Pulse, a look at perspectives in rural Minnesota sponsored by the Blandin Foundation.

• The city of Eagan and Frontier Communications have reached an agreement under which Frontier will become the first telecommunications provider on AccessEagan, the city’s wholesale fiber network.

Zayo Group expands its Tier 1 IP backbone in the Minneapolis market to provide extended IP services in Minneapolis, up to 10Gbps.

• In April, the Lake County Fiber project was approved by Rural Utilities Service; the RUS investigated the project’s finances and found no oversights. Lake Connections is advertising for jobs.

Fiber installation continues in Cook County. Progress on backhaul is being made.  Work has begun on power poles in Lake County.