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Stirring the Pot: Chisago Lakes Area quest as America’s Best Community!

As originally posted on Blandin on Broadband… This month I offer congratulations to Chisago Lakes Minnesota.  Two years ago, five small towns decided to identify and work together as one community in the America’s Best Communities competition sponsored by Frontier Communications, Dish Network, The Weather Channel and Co-Bank. Chisago Lakes includes Chisago City, Lindstrom, Center […]

Southwestern Minnesota Counties Working Together on Broadband with the Blandin Foundation

As originally posted on the Blandin on Broadband blog… Lincoln, Murray and Pipestone Counties are three rural counties that have decided to work together on better broadband.  The counties share a similar mix of small communities and big farms on the southwestern Minnesota prairie.  They also see a growing number of neighboring counties getting fiber […]

Bill Coleman speaks at MN Association of Townships

I was pleased to help start the conversation on broadband last week at Association of Townships annual conference in St Cloud. Blandin Foundation community partners Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Chisago County and Cloquet Valley Internet Initiative were all featured as was the USDA and Paul Bunyan Telephone Cooperative.  It was great to […]

Stirring the Pot: Deploying $35 million in broadband grants in Minnesota

As originally posted on the Blandin on Broadband blog… With the $35 million of broadband funding now signed into law, both communities and telecom providers are beginning the process of project development. Some have projects lined up, engineering completed, business cases prepared and partnerships in place. Others are just getting started in their project planning. […]

Stirring the Pot: Understanding CAF 2

As originally posted in Blandin on Broadband… Nothing has confused rural community broadband policy discussion more lately than the FCC CAF2 funding program. $500 million dollars to rural Minnesota over the next six years is the good news; a minimum 10 Mb/1 Mb standard is the bad news. CenturyLink, Frontier, Windstream and Consolidated Communications (formerly […]

Focus your broadband marketing on the right audience

As originally posted on the Blandin on Broadband blog… Stirring the Pot Words count!  I heard that message again and again at the Border to Border Broadband Conference.  What do providers want to hear to entice their interest in partnerships?  What do county commissioners need to hear to spur their commitment of funds?  And what […]

Stirring the Pot: Standards and policies matter!

As originally posted in Blandin eNews… The new broadband maps published by the DEED Office of Broadband Development are like a step back in time.  More of Minnesota is considered “unserved” now than previously, breaking a trend that consistently had more Minnesotans covered by adequate broadband over time.  Providers certainly did not shut down services, […]

Stirring the Pot: Community broadband initiatives like the MN Gopher Football Team

As originally posted on Blandin on Broadband eNews… Stirring the Pot I’m a big MN Gopher football fan, suffering through some pretty bad teams over the years. But this year, the team has played better and has won some big games. Four years into his stay, Coach Kill has emphasized building a program “Brick by […]

BOOK REVIEW: Brain Gain: How Innovative cities create job growth in an age of disruption

I have been a fan of the Intelligent Community forum for quite a while now. I have attended their annual conference many times and led Dakota County’s Intelligent Communities’ initiative that led to three consecutive years recognition as a Smart 21 Intelligent Community. I also brought the Intelligent Community concept to the Blandin Foundation to […]

Bringing Intelligent Community Forum to rural areas

Applying the Intelligent Community framework established by the Intelligent Community Forum (www.intelligentcommunity.org) to rural communities is a specialty of Community Technology Advisors.  Bill Coleman brought the Intelligent Community framework to the design and implementation of the Minnesota Intelligent Rural Community (MIRC) initiative of the Blandin Foundation.   based on his experience leading Dakota County to […]