Yesterday the Minnesota Broadband Task Force held their monthly meeting in Dakota County – at Unisys to be specific. It was a great opportunity to showcase much of the work that Dakota County has done in terms of promoting and facilitating better broadband for better business. You can get the full notes from the session from the Blandin on Broadband blog. The various Dakota County presentations are included below:
Bill Coleman spoke about the Dakota Future Intelligent Community Initiative
Dakota County has been working on broadaband for more than a decade now – but last spring they entered a Memorandum of Understanding with seven other metropolitan counties to collaborate on telecommunciations infrastructure. According to the Dakota County website…
In May 2011, an MOU was approved between Dakota County and seven other large MN counties for a cross county collaboration process to incent sharing IT infrastructure and functionality. This bold, new initiative directs IT Leadership to review options for sharing underutilized assets as well as costs to implement new emerging technologies, provide new services and purchase technology.
It’s a great way to build on natural and beneficial partnerships to increase broadband deployment and adoption for the whole Twin Cities region.
Ever wonder how Dakota County government connects? It turns out some smart decisions were made starting ten years ago. According to the Dakota County website…
For the past 10 years, Dakota County has successfully connected public entities within Dakota County with fiber optic cable through collaborative efforts between the state, cities, schools, and other public entities within our county (the I-Net).
More than 240 nodes were connected for less than $1,000,000 of county funds, in stark contrast to other counties, who have spent 10’s of millions of dollars to install similar networks. Dakota County achieved these savings, in large part, by leveraging cable franchise agreements and intensive collaborative efforts.
The final presentation of the day highlighted ways that folks in Dakota County are using broadband to make our lives better. David Riggs told us how the modern student learns with technology. Remember when you could take a computer class in college? Well now you can take a class on the computer. It has changed the relationship between teachers and students and using the technology has improved engaged learning. While in the hospitals seem to have at least as much change as higher education. Patients too are changing how they want to interact with healthcare providers. Health care providers in turn have been able to change almost every aspect of administration – and the door is open too more. But with teleradiology and other applications, online healthcare will definitely drive the need for greater broadband. Finally we heard from the financial sector. Online banking has been a big game changer for the bank. It was interesting to hear how they balance convenience, security and a wide range of customer expectations.
It was great to hear from difference segments of Dakota County and to get their views on broadband. An important segment is the local government entities. We heard from them on the Community Panel: Working Together on Broadband and Technology. Specifically we heard from the following:
Click on their names above to see a video on their presentation. I think that hearing about the different roles that these folks play in broadband deployment was valuable for the providers in the room – but also for the local businesses. As Michael Langley pointed out in opening keynote presentation, infrastructure is an important aspect of economic development but infrastructure include government support as well as access to utilities. Hearing from the panel gave us a good glimpse at the strength in Dakota County’s infrastructure.
Click on their names above to see a video on their presentation. One of the most inspiring parts of the panel came from a question from the audience – “How can I get my employees serious broadband (Gig) at home? We need it.” While none of the providers committed to a Gig anytime soon, they thought that 100 Mbps would be easier, but just getting people to voice the need helps the providers see and plan for the future.
The Broadband Forum last week was a great success. We had about 50 attendees; we all left a little wiser and inspired to improve broadband in Dakota County. The day started with Michael Langley from Metro MSP helping us focus on regional economic development. It was a good reminder that in today’s global economy, we are not competing with Anoka County – rather the Twin Cities region is competing with Phoenix, Dallas and London. It’s important to recognize that together our counties garner more attention and more interest from new and relocating businesses than we do alone. Langley offers a framework of strategies that will help us succeed:
Excellence in Education and Workforce
Infrastructure (Met Council is a real regional advantage)
Creating Excellence in Innovation and Entrepreneurship