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Arrowhead Intelligent Region

A partnership to deliver on a broadband-fueled economy in NE Minnesota

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that when it comes to broadband, access denied is opportunity denied.

The Arrowhead Intelligent Region (AIR) initiative brings together northeastern Minnesota economic and community developers to identify and fund projects across the seven-county Arrowhead region that will:

  • improve broadband infrastructure
  • build a knowledge workforce
  • incent innovation
  • ensure digital equality
  • enable community engagement
  • ensure environmental and social sustainability

This approach combines an understanding that broadband is essential infrastructure, while emphasizing that communities’ use of broadband drives economic competitiveness. It builds on and brings to regional scale the Intelligent Community framework used to date by 10 Iron Range communities to develop and implement projects that deliver on the promise of a broadband-fueled economy. Blandin Foundation and Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation are committing funds to create a grant pool for regional projects emerging from this process.

To identify opportunities and projects to fund, Blandin and Intelligent Community Forum staff spent the final quarter of 2020 collecting and compiling information for a benchmarking exercise that compares the Arrowhead Region to more than 400 communities around the globe on the framework’s elements: infrastructure; workforce; innovation; digital equity; community engagement and sustainability.


Arrowhead Intelligent Rural Initiative Summit

Wednesday, February 10  |  9-11:00 am

Click here for more information and to register

On February 10, Dr. Robert Bell, co-creator of the Intelligent Community framework, will offer an overview of the results of this comparative analysis and showcase best practices around the increasingly competitive and technology-infused world.  Break-out discussions around each of the framework’s elements will begin outlining opportunities for collaboration on strategies and projects that would enhance the economy of the Arrowhead Region.

For more information, contact Bill Coleman at or Whitney Ridlon at



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Mary Magnuson March 2016-crop

Mary Magnuson

Program Assistant - Public Policy & Engagement

Direct: 218-327-8738

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