This one slipped by for me. 'Course, why should I know about this -- I'm only on the State's broadband Task Force and Connected Nations was only supposed to be on our agenda before the decision was made, but hey...
Click HERE to read the letter from the commissioners of DEED and Commerce to the Governor that recommends Connected Nations as the outfit to develop Minnesota's application for the Federal "State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program" funds that are out there under the stimulus program. The Governor signed off and CN is off to the races.
I'm pretty cranky about this process. Nice n'cozy. Nice n'closed. Nice bypass of the Task Force. No public input at all as far as I can see. Looks like there was lots of opportunity for providers to provide input about their confidentiality needs, not too much input about what consumers need. Look forward to more sub-par optimistic maps, and impossible to use/verify data, peepul.
Like I said, I'm cranky today. I think it would be useful if a few million consumers showed up at the next Task Force meeting and let us know what they think of this decision and the process that arrived at it. It would also probably be useful if a few more million consumers wrote to the Feds asking them not to fund our application. I would prefer to have no Federal money wasted on these maps here in Minnesota after seeing what we got for the state money we spent on the last round. The stuff we got is actually worse than useless because the maps are full of happy talk about how great the coverage is here in the state -- if you like a 756k definition for "broadband". Now we're signed up for more of the same, but it's coming out of our Federal taxes rather than our State taxes.
Connected Nations is supposed to be on the agenda this next time (just like the last two meetings, but I'm not promising anything), so there's a good reason for you to do a little research, come to the meeting and express your opinions during the public comment period.
Other things you could do;
- Email to the Governor (email@example.com) and the commissioners (firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com)
- Let them know that you saw this post and that you're cranky too
- Demand that their be some kind of public process in which stakeholders provide review and oversight of Connected Nations while they're writing the grant application
- Demand the same public/transparent process be put in place when Connected Nations is actually doing the work
- Demand more granular data, that is available to the public in a downloadable dataset and is independently verifiable (see my previous post for a little more detail)
- Demand a consumer voice in the framing of the nature of the work to be done, dang nabbit!