Ann Treacy's blog

The Senate version of the Minnesota Broadband Development Fund bill

Earlier I combed through the House version of the Broadband Development Fund legislation. Today I’m combing through the Senate version for differences. There aren’t many – but there’s at least one big difference. The Senate is still talking about $100 million in funding, while the House has reduced that to $25 million.

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Will your community be served with Minnesota state funding bill for broadband?

The Minnesota Legislature has been looking at a bill for $100 million for broadband development. Yesterday I attended the most recent meeting on the issue in the House (Ways & Means meeting – the bill has been rolled into HF 2976 and we just heard the first engrossment). On the very high level – the House is suggesting $25 million (not the original $100 million) for broadband development to be doled out as grants through a process managed by the Office of Broadband Development. They are also suggesting $450,000 for mapping and research and $250,000 for general funding for the Office of Broadband Development.

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Is broadband a utility? Decide that, then create policy

I’m struck by how often I think of the old broadband-as-utility debate during the legislative season. The question is – Is broadband a utility? Making that call would sure make some policy decisions easier.

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Policy keeping up with technology and understanding unintended consequences

There’s a drive to bring open meeting regulations into the new century by no longer requiring meeting organizers to post notices in print. I think there are some good reasons to do this – and some good reasons not to make the change. (There’s a nice information brief on open meeting if you need a refresher.)

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Remote mourning: Webcams bring the church to your living room

I found a new, sad but useful, use for broadband this week. Webcams in churches. I am in Ireland for a funeral. The funeral came up pretty suddenly – our “Irish Grandma” died after a brief illness. She has sons all over the world: Australia, London, New York, Florida and Minnesota. They were all able to be here but plenty of grandkids and other family members weren’t. Fortunately, the church was online. They maintain a webcam in the church at all times. So they whole funeral was livestreamed and is apparently archived.

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ProtectMyRep: Social media tool for teens, made in Minnesota

Sometimes I talk to high school classes about online reputation management. I’ve learned that kids have not heard of LinkedIn. It doesn’t always occur to them that a SnapChat picture might not disappear after 10 seconds – if an enterprising recipient is quick with a screen capture. They don’t realize that even if they do have privacy settings on, if their friends don’t, I can probably learn a quite a bit about them from the friends – especially if their friends are my friends. Something to consider, especially in a small town. They are users of social media but they’re not strategic. To be fair a lot of us weren’t that strategic at age 16, but we weren’t leaving digital fingerprints behind.

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Online citizens in St. Paul ask – why did Google pass us by?

I like to see broadband come up in main street media. I like to see broadband come up in community discussions. It means people are recognizing the importance of broadband. I really like when it comes up in my community (St Paul) because I would love to see more options here. And yes I realize that the fact that I can say “more options” implies there are options already and that I’m in better broadband shape than many people reading this blog – but my goal is to see Minnesota be a world leader with broadband and we need more discussion, more recognition and more options statewide if that’s going to happen!

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Hackathons and Coding Jams – Great events coming up for civic minded coders and others!

The hot topic at the big broadband conference in St Paul last week was infrastructure – people learning and talking about infrastructure. But – my favorite sideline at the broadband conference this week was the talk about applications, open data and getting citizens involved through applications, open data and access to technology, which includes broadband.

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Net neutrality: More uncertainty for the industry. Next steps?

I wish I had an extra day in my week to scan all media for reports on the recent Net Neutrality order from the US Court of Appeals. I guess the best I can say about it right now is that people are paying attention to broadband and geeky tech issues now in a way they weren’t a few years ago. I realized that when I stumbled onto an interview with Susan Crawford and Scott Cleland on a program called The Take Away on my drive home from the western edge of Minnesota. (That interview is worth 13 minutes of your time. Crawford and Cleland have very different opinions on the issue!)

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