Minnesota’s Broadband Networks – Backbone of the 21st Century!
February 18, 2016 • 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Minnesota Telecom Alliance
For the second year in a row, the Minnesota Cable Communications Association and the Minnesota Telecom Alliance with partner companies are hosting a policy conference in Minnesota — Broadband Networks, the Backbone of the 21st Century!
The conference will be held in St. Paul on February 18, 2016 at 317 on Rice Park, 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. This is the premier broadband conference of the year.
Here is a list of those invited and or already committed to participate as a speaker or panelist.
I hope you will join us. Last year we sold out with over 120 leaders in attendance. We were pleased the conference received very positive feedback from this wide range of stakeholders.
MTA’s core purpose is to enhance the success and viability of its telecommunications industry members. You are an important part of helping us fulfill this mission. Here is your opportunity to maximize the impact of your event sponsorships for 2016.
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In response to our request for MTA member economic development stories, Emily Telephone has submitted this great story.
“Emily Co-operative Telephone Company (ECTC) held an annual strategic planning meeting last winter. In attendance was a development professional who led us through a very productive meeting. The ECTC board and management came away with four goals. At the top of the list was to increase the economic viability of our region. Emily, Fifty Lakes, Fairfield Township, and Little Pine Township, along with Outing (Crooked Lake Township) are the communities in this region and assist in keeping our company a viable business in this area. ECTC is one of the biggest employers in the region and our goal is to be available to our members and a strong local service provider to our rural communities, as opposed to bigger companies.
Area grant foundations were invited to ECTC board meetings and provided very useful information. A small group of community volunteers organized an initial public meeting, inviting local communities, publicized in the local newspapers, word of mouth, along with stopping at local businesses. A small starter group of interested volunteers conducted the meeting. There was a sign-up sheet requesting contact information for residents who were interested in being part of the committee, as assistance was needed with the grant writing process and carrying out the proposed ideas for economic development efforts.
Five volunteers assisted with the grant writing process, three more public meetings were held, one with Merritt Bussiere, detailing homeowners and the demographics in our region; Ben Winchester on Brain Gain and the population growth in rural Minnesota; and an asset mapping meeting, to list our local amenities and needs. Volunteers visited cities and township meetings to discuss the project as well as the local chamber and Lion clubs. A commitment was needed from all city councils and townships willing to accept grant moneys. One of the communities was tasked with being the fiscal agent for the committee. During the entire process, the idea was to involve all area communities in the economic development efforts, obtaining local input and support to benefit all five communities, without excluding anyone from participating in these efforts.
Volunteers distributed surveys asking for input and had prizes for those who completed the informational survey. Forming a community website is also in progress.
We were awarded a grant from the IRRRB ($20,000), secured donations from the five local entities ($5,000) and will receive training, meeting facilitation and technical assistance from the Initiative Foundation through a grant they received through a USDA Rural Development Initiative (valued at $25,000). We held a meeting with the Initiative Foundation to set dates to begin the formal start of our participation in the foundation's Thriving Communities Initiative (TCI) program. This program will work with our local communities to develop a common vision, identify key goals, develop action plans and then implement those plans.
Our Mission Statement:
The first change has been the addition of our third consultant, Chris Swanson. Chris started with the MTA on January 15 and comes to us from Ewald Consulting where she worked in the MTA Membership Department, so she is very familiar with all of your companies. She hit the ground running by attending a Blood Borne Pathogens Train-the-Trainer course at the Minnesota Safety Council and has been shadowing Dan and me the past two weeks to become familiar with our training process. She will conduct her first class on February 8, so please give her a big welcome when she visits your company.
The second change with the program is that we continue to grow. Since January 1, we have had three new companies join our safety program. Those companies are Valley Telecommunications in Herreid, SD; TrioTel in Salem, SD; and MidState Communications in Kimball, SD.
Without your patience and commitment for the safety program, we would not be able to continue to grow or be able to provide the services and training that we do. It’s great to know there are people out there who take safety seriously — not only at work, but away from the job too.
PERHAM, MINN., JAN. 25, 2016— Arvig, the area’s leading broadband provider, announced that Shaun Carlson has been promoted to Director of IT. Carlson is responsible for leading all IT operations and network engineering for the company. He will report to David Arvig, Vice President/COO.
“I’m pleased to announce Shaun’s promotion,” said Arvig. “He has a keen eye for detail and an extensive knowledge of IT, making him a very valuable member of our team. Throughout his time at Arvig, he’s helped us make huge strides as a company and has played a key role in streamlining some of our internal processes. I’m excited to see what he’ll bring to the table in this new position.”
With more than 15 years in the telecommunications industry, Carlson’s expertise includes a broad range of IP and TDM technologies, enterprise networking and systems design, telephony, server and desktop support, web and database software development, sales and customer support. He joined Arvig in 2011 as Senior Network Engineer, moved into the position of Network Engineering Manager in 2013 and was promoted to Senior Manager of Information Technology in late 2014.
Shaun holds a Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems from North Dakota State University and an Executive Master's in Business Administration from the University of Mary.
Recent Upgrades Provide Rural MN ISPs with World-Class Network Capacity
Cooperative Network Services (CNS) recently completed the required network upgrades to install its first 100 Gigabit service to a Minnesota Internet Service Provider.
The newly upgraded ROADM transport network, utilizing Cisco’s ONS platform, will deliver the bandwidth needed for the first of likely many MN ISPs and WISPs looking to upgrade their connection speeds for future high-bandwidth including the increases in providers who are now offering Gigabit services to business and residential customers.
“This 100Gb upgrade will allow us to provide the bandwidth required by MN ISPs and end-users as data transmission needs increase.” said Dean Bahls, CNS’ Network Services Manager. “We continue to see increases in Internet and dedicated circuit traffic resulting from growth in the video, mobile and cloud-based software and data backup/recover services.”
The network upgrade went smoothly, and 100 Gb wavelengths are now ready for commercial deployment throughout the CNS transport network footprint from Minneapolis and throughout Northern Minnesota.
“It’s exciting to cross the 100 Gb threshold as so many of the predictions about data usage are coming true. This 10Gb to 100Gb upgrade will be an important part of the advancement of emerging technologies like tele-health, distance learning, immersive entertainment, and the Internet of Things,” said Jason Dale, CNS’ CEO.
CNS’ transport network now covers over 1,100 route miles with 24 pops connecting multiple ISPs, wireless towers, data centers and end users to both Fargo and the 511 building in Minneapolis.
Covering some of the most rural parts of Minnesota, CNS connects hundreds of thousands of out-state users to the information they need each day.
Duane Wentland, Operations Manager for Benton Communications (Rice, MN) began his employment at Benton Telephone in September 1980 and will retire on February 29, 2016. Benton Communications invites you to join us for cake and coffee at a Retirement Open House in his honor on Wednesday, February 24, 2016 from 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM at Benton Communications, 2220 125th St NW, Rice, MN. Congratulations to Duane on his 36 years of dedicated service.
(Bemidji, MN) (February 5, 2015) – Minnesota Lt. Governor Tina Smith visited the headquarters of Paul Bunyan Communications in Bemidji on Wednesday, February 3. The Lt. Governor congratulated the cooperative’s staff on being a leader in bringing high quality broadband Internet service to northern Minnesota and for building one of the largest rural fiber optic Gigabit networks in the United States, the GigaZone. She also discussed the State’s Border to Border Broadband Grant program which the Dayton administration has proposed $100 million in funding for 2016.
The cooperative, in partnership with the IRRRB and Itasca County, was a recipient of a grant from the 2015 Border to Border Broadband Grant program which will fund nearly $2 million of the $5.5 million Central Itasca County Broadband Project.. Construction will begin in the spring and will bring broadband Internet service with download and upload speeds of up to 1 Gigabit per second along with PBTV and voice services to nearly 1,300 locations that currently lack broadband service.
“We are honored that Lt. Governor Smith took the time during her busy trip to Bemidji to stop at our cooperative and visit with our staff. She along with Governor Dayton are strong proponents of bringing broadband access to all Minnesotan’s and we are very appreciative and supportive of their efforts. There are far too many rural areas that remain without access to broadband. We will continue to do what we can to bring it to as many in northern Minnesota as we can,” said Gary Johnson, Paul Bunyan Communications CEO/General Manager.
In addition to meeting with Paul Bunyan Communications staff, the Lt. Governor toured the cooperative’s facility.