As originally posted on Blandin eNews...
Ice fishing is one of my favorite winter recreation activities, but this year is proving problematic. You can’t ice fish without ice and good ice is highly preferable to thin ice. We Minnesotans even have rules about ice – four inches to walk, 12 inches for a car. All of my ice fishing preparation, experience and equipment is useless without ice. It’s hard to plan for ice fishing with no ice and no one wants to fall through the ice and suffer possible deadly consequences. If there was ice, I would make a reservation at a resort or possibly purchase a better fish house or sonar flasher that would make me a more productive ice angler. This uncertainty is frustrating me and financially hurting the resort owner, the sporting goods retailer and the many others that would like to sell me stuff and experiences.
Seems that those hoping for rural broadband deployment face a similar kind of uncertainty. We have the broadband benchmarks for effective broadband use – 25 Mb/3 Mb by 2022, 100 Mb/20 Mb by 2026, with Gigabit as the endgame. Those places without quality broadband are now walking on thin ice: opportunities are falling through; businesses are stagnant praying for walk-in customers; and community leaders hoping for a reasonable provider partner solution.
Here in Minnesota, we can confidently rely on our northern climate to eventually provide real winter weather, at most, maybe a week or two late. For communities lacking quality broadband, there is no such reassurance. Dedicated community leaders need to act like the great north wind and create the necessary environment for broadband deployment. So if you want to start this conversation in a fish house or anywhere else in your community, apply for Community Broadband Resources assistance at http://broadband.blandinfoundation.org. I encourage you to get organized now to begin work early in the new year!