In 2005, Blandin Foundation asked its Broadband Strategy Board to imagine what it would take for Minnesota and its communities to take full advantage of broadband-based technologies. Their vision and guiding principles have been driving the Foundation’s work ever since:
To ensure a high quality of life and a globally competitive future for its citizens, businesses and communities, Minnesota is committed to making the necessary investment to become a world leader in the universal deployment and use of ultra high-speed next generation broadband.
At the November 2015 Border to Border Broadband: Better Together conference hosted by Blandin Foundation and the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development, more than 170 people from across Minnesota kept the previous vision in mind as they worked to create a new vision for broadband for our state:
Everyone in Minnesota will be able to use convenient, affordable world-class broadband networks that enable us to survive and thrive in our communities and across the globe.
Blandin Foundation believes that encouraging more, and more sophisticated use of high-speed Internet is a critical component for increasing the vitality of Minnesota's rural communities.
The Broadband Initiative funds innovative programs and works in partnership with others to:
- Increase awareness about the value of broadband (high-speed Internet)
- Increase business and residential use of broadband in rural communities
- Increase public and private investment in rural broadband capacity.
This is important work. Blandin Foundation believes that high-speed access to the Internet – and the skills to use it – is fundamental to vital communities. High-speed Internet is revolutionizing business, government, education, work and lifestyles. It creates new jobs and provides hope to communities in transition. It puts workers into wage and skill competition with people around the globe. Absent adequate broadband access and technologically literate populations, rural communities are unable to take advantage of the extraordinary benefits that ultra high-speed next generation broadband can provide.
Our work to date
In 2002, Blandin Foundation began its Broadband Initiative based on the belief that rural communities were losing competitive advantage because they lack the telecommunications infrastructure to fully take advantage of the increasingly global, knowledge-based economy. Since 2003, the Broadband Initiative has:
- Created a Strategy Board of public and private leaders to guide the Initiative.
- Published the Community Guide to Broadband Development to help local leaders across Minnesota learn more about broadband and explore their options for increasing broadband service and use.
- Brought our Get Broadband program to 29 rural Minnesota communities with $250,000 dedicated grant support, which leveraged more than twice that amount in participating communities through public and private sector support.
- Initiated the Light Speed, Robust Networks Feasibility Fund, Digital Inclusion Community Partnership and Broadband Innovation grant programs.
- Published Open Access Networks: Keeping Minnesota Communities Competitive
- Initiated the Community Broadband Resources program
- Applied for and received federal stimulus funding on behalf of the Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities coalition.
- Won, on behalf of the MIRC Coalition, Minnesota High Tech Association's Tekne Award for Innovative Collaboration in 2012.
- Delivered Testimony in front of the U.S. Senate on community success on broadband adoption.
- Initiated the Blandin Broadband Communities Program
- Received $1.5 million committed grant funding from the Foundation's Board of Trustees twice; for 2013-2014 and 2015-2016.
- Served as a voice of rural Minnesota on the Governor's Broadband Task Force.
- Hosted a webinar series and 13 statewide broadband conferences.
Minnesota Broadband Vision Endorsements
Everyone in Minnesota will be able to use convenient, affordable world-class broadband networks that enable us to survive and thrive in our co…
Minnesota Broadband Vision
As a foundation dedicated to rural community vitality, Blandin Foundation knows that broadband is critical for everything we care about: econo…
Broadband Strategy Board
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