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: 

Computer Commuter Makes Agri News

We’re always delighted to get a little good attention – and the Computer Commuter seems to be a magnet for fun stories. We were delighted to see the latest story in the Agri News

Mary Quick is on the road every week Monday to Wednesday in Lac Qui Parle County driving a renovated hotel shuttle bus known affectionately as “The Computer Commuter.”

The mobile computer lab has seven work stations equipped with laptop computers.

When Quick, the program coordinator, pulls into one of the six communities that receive the Computer Commuter’s services —Bellingham, Boyd, Dawson, Madison, Marietta and Nassau — she plugs two cords into special outlets that provide electrical power and internet access to the bus.

mary quick

LqP County: Home to Broadband Adoption & Infrastructure

computer commuter bus picWe had a funny call after the KARE 11 piece on the Computer Commuter where they talked about our bookmobile-style mobile computer and broadband lab. The caller wanted to know if infrastructure was an issue in Lac qui Parle.  We are pleased to report that it isn’t! Just last month we announced fiber to the home access in Dawson.  

Farmer’s Mutual Telephone Company has been working since 2011 to install fiber throughout LqP. We received ARRA funding to support the deployment and we are pleased to say that fiber is being made available now!

The Computer Commuter serves two purpose in our community:

First it has whet the appetite of local residents who might otherwise have wondered what in the heck they might do with a fiber connection. Well, now they know and if you’ve seen the KARE 11 segment, you know they’ll be talking with relatives across the world, doing business and gaining valuable twenty-first employment training!

Second, the bus has been a great place for people to learn how to use their computers and/or learn why they might want a computer. Infrastructure doesn’t stop at the fiber. Residents and local businesses need to invest in computers or tablets and devices to access broadband. Visiting the Computer Commuter gives them a chance to try things out and look under the hood before they buy.

So thanks for the question  – but we’re pleased with both our broadband infrastructure and our unique take on mobile broadband to encourage folks to use the infrastructure.

Computer Commuter on Kare 11 on March 10

Did you see the cameras around today? We’re very excited to report that the Computer Commuter will on Kare 11 on March 10 at 10 PM. Be sure to tune in!


LqP EDA at Small Town Symposium

We had a great time at the Small Towns Symposium in Morris…