Bill Coleman

Helping communities prepare for broadband opportunity

The Roman philosopher Seneca said that good luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. In what the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society has called “our broadband moments,” preparation requires bold community leadership that moves a community to gather data and build trusted relationships allowing them to be ready to act when opportunity arises. President Biden has pledged to make sure that every American has access to reliable, affordable, high-speed internet. Full participation in our twenty-first century economy requires no less.

Accelerate: A Community Broadband Planning Program, a guidebook for local leaders who want to ensure their communities are not left behind. 

Impact of CAF II-funded Networks

A new Blandin Foundation report finds that telecommunications companies relying only on Federal Communications Commission’s Connect America Fund (CAF II) to build broadband networks in rural Minnesota will not equip residents with speeds that meet the state’s broadband goals. The paper, “Impact of CAF II-funded Networks: Lessons Learned from Two Rural Minnesota Exchanges Left Underserved,” explores the effects federal broadband investments are having in Lindstrom (MN) and Braham (MN). The CAF II program is designed to spur broadband development in unserved, high-cost rural areas.

Measuring Impact of Broadband in 5 Rural MN Communities

Access to, and use of, high-speed Internet is critical for today’s communities. Across rural Minnesota are stories of communities putting in the hard work necessary to bring the benefits of broadband home. These stories illustrate the impact that broadband investment can have on a community’s vibrancy. The purpose of these case studies is to determine the value of that broadband based on impact to the members of that community. These five communities provide a model for economic development and community vitality in rural Minnesota.