St. Paul, MN – Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) awarded Minnesota a $1.7 million grant to support a comprehensive broadband mapping and planning initiative through the Connect Minnesota program.
Connect Minnesota (www.connectmn.org) is a partnership between the Minnesota Department of Commerce and Connected Nation to increase broadband Internet access throughout Minnesota. The grant is comprised of $1.2 million for broadband data collection and mapping activities over a two-year period and almost $500,000 for broadband planning activities over a five-year period in Minnesota, bringing the total grant award to approximately $1.7 million. The award provided through NTIA’s State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program is a matching grant and part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The data collected from the Connect Minnesota initiative will be displayed in the national broadband map, which will help inform policymakers and provide consumers with improved information on broadband Internet services available in the United States. The national broadband map is scheduled for release in February 2011. Connect Minnesota will also be implementing a brand new interactive mapping tool for viewing, analyzing and validating Minnesota’s broadband data. Called BroadbandStat, the new interactive mapping platform is a multi-functional, user-friendly way for local leaders, policymakers, consumers and technology providers to devise a plan for the expansion and adoption of broadband. BroadbandStat was developed by Connected Nation in conjunction with ESRI, the world market leader in geographic information system (GIS) software.
Minnesota has been a leader in bringing broadband-enabled technology to its citizens. In the fall of 2008, the Minnesota Department of Commerce first began working with Connected Nation through its subsidiary non-profit, Connect Minnesota, to assess the level of broadband connectivity statewide through an initial broadband mapping process. On June 30, 2009, Connect Minnesota released an updated version of the statewide broadband inventory map that illustrates the extent of broadband services available across Minnesota. The Connect Minnesota map, which represented broadband availability data from 110 broadband providers across the state, has served as a key asset for providers within the state as they seek federal stimulus funding to support broadband investment.
“We are honored that Connect Minnesota has been recognized by this award and proud to be continuing our partnership with the Minnesota Department of Commerce,” said Brian R. Mefford, Connected Nation’s chief executive officer. ”The funding provided by this award is going to allow us to make valuable updates to Minnesota’s broadband maps and gather critical information for the expansion of broadband service and use throughout the state over the next few years.”
ARTICLE: Minnesota Census Block Level Data on Connected’s Broadband Maps (TMC.net, 07/27/09)
PRESS RELEASE: Connect Minnesota Launches New Maps and Data Tools for Tapping Broadband Stimulus Dollars (07/24/09)
ARTICLE: At Issue: Connecting The State (Minnesota Public Radio, 02/13/09)
PRESS RELEASE: Connect Minnesota Releases Broadband Inventory Map to Highlight Available Service and Identify Remaining Gaps (Minnesota House of Representatives, 02/05/09)
ARTICLE: New Map Shows Speeds of the Information Superhighway (Minnesota Public Radio, 01/26/09)
PRESS RELEASE: Connect Minnesota Launches Web Site to Promote Universal Broadband Access (12/16/09)
Download Press Release here.
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