Informational meetings in Montevideo and Owatonna regarding the new state Border-to-Border Broadband Fund

The Office of Broadband Development is hosting a series of events to discuss the $20 million Broadband Development Fund. There are two meetings being held near Lac qui Parle County…

  • Friday, July 18 from 1:30 to 3:00
    Montevideo Chippewa County Courthouse Assembly Room (basement level) 629 North 11th Street (corner of state hwy 7 and 11th Street)
  • Friday, August 22 from 1:30 to 3:00
    Owatonna Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation 525 Florence Avenue

There may be another meeting scheduled Wednesday, August 26.

For a sneak preview of the topic, check out a recent webinar with Office of Broadband Development Director Danna MacKenzie and hosted by the Blandin Foundation. 

Personalized Social Media Support May 12: Limited Offer!


You have the opportunity to spend one (1) hour one-on-one with Ann Treacy, our FACEBOOK & Social Media Trainer.  You will work on your personal Social Media marketing plans and ideas!

This offer is being made to a limited number of LqP EDA clients.  Spaces will go fast so call the office today, 320-598-7976.

On Monday, May 12 there are one hour time slots available at $50 per individualized session.

Time Spots available:

Monday, May 12th

  • 5:30 p.m.
  • 7:00 p.m.

Ann will come to you and work on your computer or device so that you are most comfortable. She will work with you one-on-one going over whatever you want to do!

Spaces are not confirmed until payment is received.  All payments must be made in advance, no refunds will be given.  Checks can be made out to the:  LqP EDA


Reposted with permission from the Southwest Initiative Foundation

Educators know the importance of hands-on learning, so when Lac qui Parle Valley Schools Superintendent Renae Tostenson shared that their student to computer ratio was 4.2 to 1—below a 2008 average of 3.8 to 1—it was clear there was a need to better connect and teach students with technology.

A recent $150,000 grant for the school’s 1:1 Chromebook Initiative is helping do just that. Grant funds helped purchase Chromebooks—mini laptop computer devices—for one-to-one use in the school district.

The goal of this initiative is to develop a system over the next two years for all students in grades 5 through 12 to use a personal device as a learning tool in school, in the community and at home.

Support comes from the Joint Powers Area Community (JPAC) Fund administered by SWIF. JPAC is a unique resource that helps improve the quality of life in and around the communities of Appleton, Madison, Marietta and Milan.

The fund was created in 1989 through a grant from the State of Minnesota and acknowledged these communities for their innovation as the first rural school district to build a single, consolidated school building. The original grant required a local match, which SWIF provided.

The JPAC fund is advised by five local representatives, one from each of the fund’s communities and one from the LQPV School. SWIF administers and monitors the fund, including the application process which is by invitation only.

Since being established, the fund has supported its communities primarily through business loans, but the school’s Chromebook Initiative presented an opportunity to support an innovative project.

The grant to LQPV School District not only represents a large investment on behalf of JPAC, but it also helps leverage the investment and impact of the Blandin Broadband Community efforts currently underway. These efforts are helping make sure rural Minnesota has access to high-speed and high-quality broadband internet and technology services.

SWIF Vice President Scott Marquardt was quick to point out there are other connections to this investment beyond JPAC, including links to SWIF’s Technology and Telecommunications Initiative which was a focus in the early 2000s. These investments are supporting students, families and communities not only today, but well into the future.

LqP recognized as broadband haven!

The Minneapolis Star Tribune ran an article this weekend on broadband in rural Minnesota. The article features economic development opportunities in Lac qui Parle County…

From a farm country studio 3½ miles down a gravel road, Jean Menden ships handmade silver jewelry as far away as Norway to customers who discovered the pendants, rings and bracelets through her website.

What the retired teacher turned silversmith lacked until recently was a robust, reliable Internet connection critical to her budding business. Before newly installed fiber-optic cable delivered ultrafast broadband to her home, it was a challenge for Menden to maintain her electronic storefront and tap into Web-based tutorials that help hone her craft.

“If you had two hours, you could watch a 10-minute video,” Menden said as she described the fitful connection that used to be the best available around Boyd, a town of 172 people not far from the Minnesota-South Dakota border.

The high-speed capability that’s an afterthought in big cities and regional centers is spreading ever deeper into the nation’s countryside, nudged along by billions in federal stimulus dollars and state efforts to expand a key amenity for both quality of life and business competitiveness.

The article continues…

In far western Minnesota, Farmers Mutual, a century-old phone company, laid down 600 miles of fiber cable beginning in 2011 with the help of $9.6 million in stimulus grants and loans. The 20 megabit per second service it debuted earlier this year made it fastest in the market, but also touched off heated competition with much bigger providers keen to keep their customers.

At Dawson Oil Co., mechanic Morrie Schacherer said the auto shop he runs with his father gets regular solicitations from companies now trying to win their Internet business, including one provider he says wasn’t offering much before.

LqP Computer Commuter Wows Kansas City

KC+Digital+Inclusion+FundWhere was Pan Lehmann this week? She was in Kansas City talking about the Computer Commuter – after a personal invitation from the folks at Google Fiber. It turns out that the Kansas City Digital Inclusion Fund debuted with an event that featured six digital inclusion projects across the US and the Computer Commuter was one of them.

Here’s a little bit more about the event from the Kansas City Star

Enter the Kansas City Digital Inclusion Fund, a new idea to help bridge that digital divide, a chasm that will widen as more of the metro area embraces Google Fiber and other super-fast Internet connections.

Launched Wednesday, the fund — started with $1 million in corporate and foundation gifts —will allow area nonprofit organizations to apply for grants to teach residents how to use digital devices or provide Internet access through computer labs or classes.

And their take on the Computer Commuter…

Planners shared sample grant projects from around the country.

In the rural Minnesota county of Lac qui Parle, a mobile computer lab travels to six communities each week to provide hands-on training and Internet access to residents. Pam Lehmann, executive director of the county’s economic development authority, said it cost about $30,000 to buy and retrofit a used hotel shuttle bus and about $60,000 a year to operate the service.

Check out Pam’s presentation: 

Broadband levels in Lac qui Parle

Connect Minnesota tracks broadband access across Minnesota – including the map below of coverage in LqP.

Here’s a key to the colors in the map below:

  • Dark blue indicates speeds of 50-100 Mbps
  • Dark green indicates speeds of 10-25 Mbps
  • Green indicates speeds of 6-10 Mbps
  • Light green indicate 3-6 Mbps.

LqP is doing well with much area coming in with the faster speeds and once more fiber is made available through Farmer’s Mutual Telephone we’ll see even darker colors on the map. (Click map for larger version.)

lqp map