In January, the Minnesota Broadband Task Force released their latest report, which emphasized the need for government intervention if Minnesota is to reach stated 2015 broadband goals of ubiquitous broadband at 10-20 Mbps downstream and 5-10 Mbps upstream.
Recent reports from Akamai and Ookla also indicate that Minnesota isn’t not track. Because of the report and other efforts, it looks as if broadband will come up in the legislature this year both in terms of what can be done to improve broadband expansion and the impact on business.
In the last month, the Blandin on Broadband blog highlighted stories of broadband policy and use in Minnesota in an effort to educate and inform. Many of these topics will come up at the Border to Border Broadband Conference in St. Paul on February 4-5:
- Senator Matt Schmit completed a second broadband listening tour in January and has been talking about legislative action to promote broadband expansion. The tour includes stops in several towns including Chatfield, Duluth, Long Prairie and Park Rapids.
- Industry leaders met at the TISP Forum and also discussed potential broadband topics for the legislative un-session this spring.
- Economic developers and planners have also added broadband to their agenda.
- The Blandin Foundation awarded 32 new grants in support of broadband expansion across Minnesota. Awards total a $472,930 investment in local broadband efforts.
- Cloquet Valley Internet Initiative has been talking to potential broadband providers in their area. Subsequently, Cooperative Light and Power is planning to provide a fixed wireless solution to some parts of the community.
- In Cook County, Arrowhead Electric has completed 431 miles of fiber for broadband mainlines and 2079 Network Interface Devices have been installed at end sites (homes). They are hoping to take order for customers soon.
- Consolidated Telephone Company (CTC) is installing fiber optics in Little Falls.
- Renville and Sibley Counties (RS Fiber) plan to use a private co-op as a way to build out fiber to the farm.