Notes from Building the Broadband Economy in NY

Participating in the Intelligent Community Forum’s Building the Broadband Economy has been very interesting and fun. Last night I sat with people from across Canada and learned about the emphasis that their leaders are putting on broadband as an economic development strategy – from the Atlantic Provinces, to Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton. They saw the support of their top government leaders as essential to their successful efforts. On behalf of Dakota Future, I was pleased to sign a Memorandum of Understanding that formalizes a culture of collaboration between communities adopting the Intelligent Community approach.

Today I co-facilitated a session entitled “Five Burning Issues in Rural Communities“. Our five issues were demographics, gaps in broadband services and the difficulty in forming effective partnerships with private sector providers, funding for infrastructure, digital inclusion and application development, creating a culture of use and the many barriers to application adoption for problem solving, and leadership. It turns out that the list from the urban group was amazingly similar!

I am awed by the strategic thinking and doing going on around the world as communities and country’s strive to create and maintain competitive economies. In the same way, people from around the world are very interested in the Blandin Foundation’s approach to our MN Intelligent Rural Communities project. I have been asked many detailed questions and have received very positive feedback. I look forward to reporting lots of progress next year!