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Ten new communities selected for Blandin Community Broadband Program

Two-year partnerhips provide planning, technical and financial support to help 10 communities meet digital technology goals

BRAINERD, Minn. (November 19, 2014) – Blandin Foundation announced today that it has selected 10 rural Minnesota communities for intensive, two-year partnerships with the Foundation to advance local broadband initiatives. The announcement was made today at the Border to Border Broadband: No Community Left Behind conference in front of more than 160 broadband champions, working toward meeting the state’s broadband goals.

Carlton County, Central Woodlands (east central Minnesota), Chisago County, Martin County, Redwood County, Red Wing, Renville/Sibley Counties, Resilient Region 5 (north central Minnesota), and Sherburne County all have been successful in leading their communities’ bids to become Blandin Broadband Communities.

Communities were selected based on demonstrated commitment to work together across sectors to set and meet information technology goals and bridge digital divides.

They will join eight existing Blandin Broadband Communities already making progress toward meeting their technology goals. Fond du Lac Reservation, Itasca County, Kanabec County, Lake County, Lake of the Woods County, Lac qui Parle Valley School District, Mille Lacs County and Southwest Minnesota Broadband Services all have made the commitment to continue their community broadband work in partnership with Blandin Foundation through 2017.

“At Blandin Foundation we recognize that broadband access – and the skills to use it – are essential to expanding opportunity for all. Communities have told us this for over 12 years and it is the foremost reason why we’ve renewed our commitment to broadband,” said Bernadine Joselyn, Director of Public Policy and Engagement. “Thanks to community leaders across the state, Minnesota is making important strides toward ensuring that rural places and the economically and socially disadvantaged are not left behind. That momentum can’t stop.”

Blandin Foundation staff and consultants will work with the 18 communities to provide planning, technical and financial support as diverse, local leadership teams design and drive initiatives that position their communities and every resident for greater success.

“It takes strong local leadership and commitment from whole communities to tackle the tough issues related to Internet access and use,” said Dr. Kathy Annette, Blandin Foundation CEO. “We’re honored to stand with rural communities across the state as they design and claim a vibrant, connected future.”

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