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Southwest Minnesota region selected as a Blandin Broadband Community

November 20, 2012

Two-year partnership provides planning, organizing support for high-speed Internet work
Two-year partnership provides planning, organizing support for high-speed Internet work DULUTH, Minn. (Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012)—Blandin Foundation announced today at its annual broadband conference in Duluth that the eight communities served by Southwest Minnesota Broadband Services (SMBS) were successful in their consortium’s application to become a Blandin Broadband Community, one of only nine selected in the state. SMBS serves Jackson, Lakefield, Round Lake, Bingham Lake, Brewster, Wilder, Heron Lake and Okabena, Minn. The Blandin Broadband Communities program is an intensive, two-year partnership between Blandin Foundation and selected rural Minnesota communities. The program provides planning and organizing support to regions that demonstrate readiness and resources to either bring robust broadband adoption to communities without it, or assist already connected communities make best use of information and services broadband can deliver. The consortium’s efforts are being led by Southwest Minnesota Broadband Services and a leadership team including education, business and social service representatives. Located in a lightly populated region of Minnesota, participating communities have a long history of building technology solutions for its residents, including Windomnet. “While we have made great progress in building technology solutions for our region’s residents, we still have gaps in residents’ ability to reap the benefits of this innovative service,” said Naomi Pederson, Customer Service Administrator for Southwest Minnesota Broadband. “This partnership with Blandin is an exciting opportunity to really bring the promise of our high-speed connections to life for all of our residents.” Southwest Minnesota is one of nine rural Minnesota regions designated as Blandin Broadband Communities. Communities applied and were selected based on technology goals, current levels of broadband access and use, and ability to connect with other technical assistance and resources to meet their goals. Blandin Broadband Communities announced today are Fond du Lac, Itasca County, Kanabec County, Lake County, Southwest Minnesota, Lac qui Parle Valley, Mille Lacs County and Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. “Southwest Minnesota communities are ready and committed to take the next step with broadband, and we are delighted to be a partner in their work,” said Dr. Kathy Annette, Blandin Foundation CEO. “We believe that, in the rich blend of education, the economy, inclusion and leadership, communities come together, defining and claiming their futures. For the remainder of the story, please see our print edition or check out our electronic edition website at Call 507-793-2327 or email for more information.

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