Payments to Minneapolis digital fund dry up

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By Laura Yuen, MPR News

“MINNEAPOLIS — Payments to a little-known fund intended to expand Internet access in Minneapolis have all but dried up.

The company that created the citywide Wi-Fi network was required to establish the fund as part of its contract. USI Wireless was expected to replenish the fund every year as profits grew. But that hasn’t happened, and critics say it’s just one example of how the Wi-Fi network has fallen short of early hopes.”

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Anoka-Hennepin teachers write their own online textbook, save district $175,000

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By Chris Williams, AP/MPR News

“Minneapolis (AP) — The new textbooks in Michael Engelhaupt’s statistics class at Blaine High School are kind of cheap and won’t last long, but he doesn’t mind. After all, he wrote them.

Instead of mass-produced textbooks, the more than 3,100 sophomores in the state’s largest district are learning from an online curriculum developed by their teachers over the summer with free software distributed over the web.”

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Lawson lays off workers, won’t say how many

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By Tom Weber, Minnesota Public Radio

“St. Paul, Minn. — One of St. Paul’s biggest employers, Lawson Software, laid off employees Wednesday, but the company won’t reveal just how many or where they are located.

A company spokesman confirmed in an email that layoff notices did go out at Lawson, calling it an “expected outcome” of being acquired earlier this year.

Lawson stockholders approved the sale last month to a Georgia firm and a California investment group for $2 billion. Lawson was purchased by GGC Software Holdings, a holding company that includes Golden Gate Capital of San Francisco and Infor, of Alpharetta, Ga.”

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Tracking Minnesota’s Broadband 7

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By Dave Peters, MPR News

“There’s lots of talk about improving the nation’s high-speed access to the Internet, comparing the U.S. to Europe and Asia and wringing our hands about why we’re not getting better faster. The Federal Communications Commission is apparently about to unload a national report, for example, decrying how far the United States is behind where it should be.

But, as we’ve been saying for some time at Ground Level’s broadband topic page, some of the most interesting parts of that conversation are taking place in town halls, in county meeting rooms and on farms as people try to figure out what they want, what they can afford and how best to get it.”

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AT&T plans $100 million in Twin Cities wireless improvements

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By Martin Moylan, MPR News

“St. Paul, Minn. — AT&T Wireless plans to spend about $100 million this year to improve its wireless voice and data network in the Twin Cites and the rest of Minnesota.

The upgrade will give most Twin Cities customers data speeds of up to six to seven megabits per second by late this year or next spring. Current speeds are one to two megabits. Subsequent improvements could provide speeds of 20 megabits — or faster — statewide.”

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Lawmakers consider sales tax on all Internet retailers

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By Tom Sheck, MPR News

“State lawmakers are considering a bill to require all Internet retailers to pay sales tax in Minnesota.  Members of the Senate Taxes Committee heard testimony from supporters and opponents of the measure Wednesday.

Several companies, including Best Buy, argue the tax is needed for a level playing field.  Ward Einess, who represents Best Buy, says his company wants internet retailers to meet the same standard that his company meets.”

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MLK program aims to reduce North Minneapolis digital divide

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By Sasha Aslanian, MPR News

“Families in the Hawthorne neighborhood of north Minneapolis got a chance to mark Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday Monday in a 21st century fashion — with technology.

An event in the neighborhood marking the holiday was sponsored by The Digital Divide Initiative, which is trying to get computers into the homes of low-income families with young children, to help close the technology gap between rich and poor.”

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To communities that seize broadband initiative, benefits flow fast

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By Christopher Mitchell via MPR News

“The Twin Cities has slower and more expensive broadband Internet than the nearby town of Monticello.

The Twin Cities metro area has a population of 2.8 million and the highest density of people and businesses in the state. So why is our broadband Internet slower and more expensive than that enjoyed by Monticello, population 12,000?”

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