A recent survey by the American Planners Association found that most city planners are not involved with broadband in their community. Approximately one-third of planners were familiar with the National Broadband Plan but only 15 percent had actually viewed or used the broadband maps.
In the last month, the Blandin on Broadband blog highlighted stories of broadband business, policy and use in Minnesota:
- The Minnesota Broadband Task Force members start to really hash through their 2014 broadband reports (due in early 2014) and get to some issues, such as affordability and the current goal of ubiquitous access to 10-20 Mbps downstream and 5-10 Mbps upstream.
- Connect Minnesota hosts a broadband summit that looks at public-private partnerships for broadband services from the perspective of both the public and private sector. The conference included keynote from Thomas Cohen, from Kelley Drye & Warren, LLP, on the value of a Fiber to the Home network.
- The latest Akamai reports indicate that the US is still lagging behind world leaders when it comes to broadband speeds and penetration. Minnesota does not even make the top ten rankings for broadband access.
- A recent report questions the ARRA stimulus funding spent on deploying and promoting broadband in rural areas. Authors claim there is little economic rationale for subsidizing rural areas.
- Governor Dayton talks about reinstating sales tax exemption on equipment for telecommunications companies after revealing a $1.1 billion budget surplus.
- Most Minnesota public libraries have broadband access, but at very different speeds and at very different costs.
- IMPACT 20/20 recently released a report that looks at how businesses in Northwest Minnesota are using broadband. For example, they found that the cost‐benefit ratio of using broadband appears to be very high in terms of the amount of time and money invested and the perceived return on investment.
- Paul Bunyan Communications is now offering up to 150 Mbps in some service areas in Northern Minnesota.
- Midcontinent Communications offers reduced broadband services to low income households.
- Lake County, which received ARRA funding to build a fiber network, clears the latest project hurdle as a judge rules in favor of Lake County in a $5 million lawsuit involving bond money used in the installation of broadband internet services.
- Minnesota is selected to test smart plows that combine sensor measurements with satellite and radar observations and computer weather models to give officials a near-real time picture of road conditions.
Upcoming Broadband Events:
- Senator Matt Schmit is planning a Broadband Listening tour to various rural Minnesota communities from January 6-10.
- The Blandin Foundation is hosting a free webinar on Technology Centers and Business Accelerators on January 9.
- The Minnesota Broadband Task Force meets January 9 in St Paul.
- The Blandin Foundation is hosting a Broadband conference, Border to Border Broadband: A Call to Action, February 4-5