Focus on High-Speed Access and Business Training
The Broadband Taskforce initially focused on reform of the Universal Service Fund as a mechanism to support build-out of broadband infrastructure in high-cost areas. In support of their effort, the taskforce published "The Case for Broadband," a 12-page document which identified critically underserved areas within the region, along with showcasing three examples of businesses that were thriving, due to their use of broadband.
In the second phase of their work, taskforce members turned their attention to increasing commerce in Northwest Minnesota through helping the region’s businesses create a more robust telepresence. Their first step was a micro-study of businesses within the region that were great examples of what can be accomplished, using broadband tools. The "Study of Business Broadband Use in Northwest Minnesota" found that businesses within the region were successfully using broadband to increase their customer base, increase their reach, and increase profitbability.
Following on the heels of the micro-study, the taskforce delivered a series of workshops in October 2014, focusing on increasing business use of digital marketing strategies. A second series of workshops is planned for November 2015, including Facebook for Business, DIY Websites, and a workshop for current WordPress users. More information and online registration will be available soon.