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Broadband conference focused on cultivating a culture of use in rural Minnesota

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. – Creating technologically and economically vital rural communities was the focus this week at “Broadband 2010: Cultivating a Culture of Use”, held in Baxter, Minnesota. The event, sponsored by the Blandin Foundation, placed a spotlight on new research highlighting broadband access across rural Minnesota and the U.S. and engaged community and technology experts in addressing some of the more stubborn challenges to broadband access and adoption in rural Minnesota.

Newly released information outlined in the Blandin Foundation-commissioned study, “Digital Crossroads: Community Guide to State and National Broadband Policy” by researcher Ann Treacy, compared federal and state plans to promote and support broadband expansion.

“In addition to providing a great reference, this report highlights the implications for local communities of the reports’ reccommendations and reinforces the Blandin Foundation’s experience that no matter their size, rural communities can and must chart their own broadband futures,” said Jim Hoolihan, Blandin Foundation president.  “We also know from experience that even though they must do it themselves, communities can’t and don’t need to do it alone.”

In addition, the “How Rural Minnesota Communities Access and Use Broadband: Minnesota Rural Intelligent Communities Baseline Report” was presented at the Broadband 2010 conference and outlined both the progress and stubborn challenges of broadband adoption and access in rural Minnesota communities. 

Unique in its focus on rural Minnesota communities, this conference engaged both rural community leaders and nationally known experts.  Among the presenters were Robert Stephens, founder of the Geek Squad and Chief Technology Officer for Best Buy; Robert Bell of the Intelligent Community Forum; and a team of students from the University of Minnesota-Morris.  Additional presentations and panel discussions included experts, researchers, and those in the field who discussed programs to help boost broadband adoption and access in their communities.

To watch keynote presentations from “Broadband 2010: Cultivating a Culture of Use” and download both the MIRC Baseline Report and white paper, go to

See other commentary on the conference on Twitter  #mnbb2010

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