September 18th, 2010
Hi all. Well, I took a little vacation from this UrbanUsers blog after the taskforce I was appointed to wrapped up. But now there's the new one -- tasked with keeping an eye on Minnesota's progress toward the goals we laid out in our report.
There's a new group of people on the task force this time around. Click HERE for Ann Treacy's summary of the inaugural meeting (last month) which includes a short backgrounder on each member. Hmmm... Ann notes that the new gang is a little light on the consumer/rural point of view. So let's help them out!
Next task force meeting
Date -- Thursday, September 30
Location -- Falcon Heights City Hall (just north of the St Paul campus of the UofM) -- click HERE for a map
Time -- 9am to 3pm (schmoozing probably starts around 8:30am, I don't know the coffee situation)
Agenda -- Connected Nations will be pitching their latest mapping stuff
Come on down!
May 21st, 2010
I thought I'd blow the dust off this Urban Users blog and write a quick post about the new broadband coverage maps that have just been published. In a nutshell -- they're way better this time around. Pretty cool, as a matter of fact. The thing I like the best is how granular they are.
Click HERE to drop right into the mapping system.
If you're an economic-development type person, or a community leader type person, these maps will help you figure out where you're at when it comes to broadband. If you're a policy-maker type person, the maps will show you where we've still got a lot of work to do (and if you're an ISP type person that same map will show you where to put some facilities).
November 14th, 2009
The report is done and out the door... Click HERE for an electronic copy.
That final push, plus all the "launch" festivities, kinda overwhelmed me on the Task Force stuff. So this post is a little late. Sorry about that.
Mikey's Talking Points
- This is a consensus document. Everybody agreed with the language that's in this report, with one exception (John Gibbs (Comcast) disagrees with the need for an ongoing council). So this is a deal that we all signed (see Page 142). I'm "in" this deal and will stay in until somebody else jumps out. Does it represent everything I wanted? No. If you want that report, just send me off to write it all by myself. But this report is much stronger than that, because we all gave up a lot to get to this common ground. So all you readers, you keep an eye on us. Let me know if somebody from the Task Force slams this report behind our backs. Keep a special-close eye on us during the Legislative session. If somebody bails out, send me a note -- I'll have some things to say.
- Follow through. There are 8 reports that precede this one, dating back to the mid-1980's. We know, some of us have read them all, and they're all posted on this site. They're all pretty good. They all say similar things. Not much has happened. This may become Report Number Nine. We hope it doesn't, and follow-through will be the thing that matters in this regard. Your legislators need to hear that. So does the Administration. Most of the things we're describing involve ongoing leadership and collaboration. That stuff is cheap.
- This report might be useful in the national conversation. Many of you will gripe because this report doesn't put a chicken in every pot or fiber into every home. But this report represents something else. This is a consensus that includes all kinds of very diverse points of view and these words are washed smooth by hours of intense discussion and learning. Here's an example of how this report addresses national issues in a new way. Take a look at our discussion of the issue of Symmetrical Service (Page 55). Starting out, there were two diametrically-opposed points of view on this issue -- you were either for it or agin' it. We've come up with something broke the logjam (for us, at least) when we say that it's really not symmetry that's the issue -- it's whether you have enough upstream speed to meet your needs. If you have that, who cares whether your downstream speed is 1x or 10x as fast? There's lots of subtly innovative language like that in this report. So read carefully.
- There's a new model in here. Take a look at the diagram on page 57. I published an earlier version of it HERE and the model made it into our final report. I like this approach a lot. It is a way to emphasize the need for balanced action. Just building stuff won't work, just increasing demand won't work, just collecting data and making maps won't work, just steering and managing the process won't work. We need to do all of that and more if this is really going to make a difference. Everybody on the Task Force agrees.
- The report has very detailed suggestions for action. Check out the sections on Ubiquitous Broadband (Page 56) and Security, Vulnerability and Redundancy (Page 82) for some long detailed lists of things we should do and the reasons why. Most of the work we're describing needs to be done by somebody other than state government. Could be you! These are the "lead, follow or get out of the way" lists peepul. We do all that stuff, we will have moved the needle a LOT.
- Get past the sound bites. It was interesting to watch our careful work get reduced to sound bites during the roll-out last week. I got lots of calls and email. My response was "Read the dang details!" The report, and the people who worked hard for a year and half to write it, deserve that from you.
- Don't wait. The report is aimed at the Legislature, but there's absolutely no reason why you should wait for them to get your work started. There are some pretty tough goals in this report (the "get us in the top 5 nationally by 2015" speed goal is a killer). If your boss told you that you had 5 years to get your company from the middle of the pack to top-5, would you sit on your hands for a year and a half before getting started?? Indeed, the State is walking into a very bad budget deficit and it's unlikely they're going to be doing much but putting that fire out. So don't wait for them. If there's something you or your gang see that needs doing, do it! Do it now! Call us Task Force folks up -- you'll be surprised where support for your idea may come from.
Here's where I say "thanks" to all of you on and off of the Task Force who helped make this a wonderful experience.
And this is my sunset (taken a couple days ago here at the farm). I think I'll ride off into it.
Mikey -- November 14, 2009, from a prairie haven...
October 30th, 2009
Sorry about the tardy post. The week kinda got away from me. But today is our last meeting and I expect it to be a short one. We've got a really-close final draft to review and the only thing I found were nits. We've bashed through to consensus on all the hard sections, now we're reviewing summaries, introduction, etc.
Fingers crossed, we'll be heading into announcement/rollout/press-release/joint-legislative-hearing a week from today in downtown St Paul. Nearing the end of the trail.
October 6th, 2009
Hmmm. Click HERE for the list of applicants for mapping money from the NTIA. Notice anything interesting? Looks like Connected Nations isn't the only possible solution for coming up with state-level mapping of broadband availability. Remember my "cranky" post? Where the University of Minnesota got stiffed by the Pawlenty administration because they "couldn't assure the providers of confidentiality"? Well, it sure looks like lots of other states figured that equation differently.
And gosh all fishhooks. The NTIA has just released the first 4 grants for mapping money to non-Connected-Nations states. The story behind that link says that the reason that the NTIA favored those applications was this;
According to the NTIA, these states’ applications stood out from the rest because they plan to get data from sources other than the usual suspects (incumbent telecom and cable operators), verify the data they collect, and collaborate with other state agencies.
Y'know... If they'd asked us Task Force folks (instead of just handing the deal to Connected Nations), we could have told the state bureaucrats that. Maybe we've moved from the front of the line to the back of the line? Clever us.
October 3rd, 2009
I remembered to bring the dang MP3 recorder with me this time, so here are the recordings of the meeting yesterday
Click HERE for the recording of the morning meeting
- 0:04 Ongoing Counctil
- 1:04 Ubiquitous Broadband
- 1:26 Break
- 1:40 Security
- 2:05 Economic Development
- 2:39 Benefits to Organizations and Institutions
Click HERE for the recording of the afternoon meeting (I had to scoot, so the last 10 minutes of the meeting wasn't recorded)
- 0:01 Security
- 0:55 Connected Nations
- 1:07 Report-drafting details
October 1st, 2009
It's getting to be crunch time as we wind down to the final report. We're on an every-two-week schedule now and things are feeling a little pressured as we finally get to the point where we have to face and resolve some fundamental questions. The one that's likely to dominate the meeting tomorrow is the question "what is this here Council you're proposing actually going to do?" Opinions vary (to commit violent understatement). A lot of us want to make sure that this report doesn't just become Report Number Nine (number nine, number nine, number nine...) on the pile of reports gathering dust and the key to that is FOLLOW THROUGH by all us stakeholders. To do that, we need a mechanism to stay focused, come together, figure out Right Action, and keep things moving. We'll see how it goes...
Click HERE for the info and agenda for the meeting tomorrow. I'm on deck for three agenda items in a row in the morning. I'm probably going to need a beer by lunch time.
September 16th, 2009
Hi all. Another reminder post -- our next meeting is this Friday. And this time there's an additional feature -- an informal reception the night before. This carries over a habit we got into when we were on the road this summer. So click HERE to read the agenda and get the meeting materials, and click HERE to learn more about the reception the night before. Heck, I like the topic of "beer" so much, here are the Beer details directly so you don't have to lift a finger;
Informal Reception with the Task Force at the Starks Saloon at 6:30 pm on Thursday, September 17
- Starks Saloon http://www.starks-saloon.com/ in Eagan. Address: 3125 Dodd Rd Eagan, MN 55121-2308. Phone: 651-454-8251
- Directions: From 35E, exit Lone Oak Road, go east to Hwy 55 (1 mile). Right on Hwy 55 to first right at Dodd Road/149 (1/4 mile), Starks is on the right. From 494, exit at Dodd Road. Road exit (1/2 mile east of 35E on 494). Turn Left at Light. Go south 1/2 mile to Hwy 55, turn left at light, go to second light at Dodd Road/149 (1/2 mile). Starks is on the right., ,,
September 16th, 2009
Thanks to Diane Wells! Here's the 1985 report from the Minnesota Telecommunications Council regarding advanced telecommunications in the state. Key recommendations?
- Economic development is key
- There are regulatory issues that need to be addressed
- There are exciting possibilities for use by the public sector
- Follow-through is required (the report recommended the State Planning Agency as the home)
Click HERE to read this report. Report number 8 on the pile of "reports that precede us."
September 9th, 2009
A great set of proposals from Minnesota! $283m in grants plus $105m in loans. I guess there's some unmet need in this state after all.
But the total amount applied for was around $28 billion, so our $388 million represents about 1.4% of the total and falls short of 2% of the total (assuming equal money per state) or 1.8% of the total (measuring Minnesota's population as a proportion of the US total). So we're not quite above-average yet peepul.
Click HERE for a "canned" search of the NTIA applications database that was just released -- this search shows all the apps from Minnesota and is where I got that "headline" number.
Click HERE for the page where you can formulate your own search.