Community readiness is key to expanding rural Internet access, says Blandin’s Bernadine Joselyn in Star Tribune article

Posted in Broadband

“It never dawned on me that it [lack of broadband Internet] would be such a detriment to my business.” — Casey Jelinski, former Aitkin County resident

When Blandin Foundation entered into broadband work nearly 15 years ago, local leaders were excited about the possibilities that came with Internet access. Most, though, didn’t yet realize how critical it would be to the future survival of their communities.

A recent Star Tribune article leaves no doubt that communities now fully recognize the importance of high-speed Internet.

That is why places, like Aitkin County — which at 27 percent has the least broadband coverage in Minnesota –, are organizing to position their communities to receive investment — federal, state, philanthropic and local. Community meetings, cross-organization collaboration, digital skills classes and more are paving the way to make Aitkin County more competitive in the race for available, and limited, broadband resources.

Demonstrated readiness is the key to move the needle on broadband access in rural Minnesota, said Bernadine Joselyn, director of public policy and engagement at Blandin Foundation, in Sunday’s Star Tribune article.

“Our message to communities is get ready,” she said. “Those with civic infrastructure [in place] to respond to opportunities…are going to be in the best position to benefit.”

Not sure where to start? Check out our broadband resources on our website for webinars, reports, tool kits and more to help you start the conversation.