Dayton picks new broadband task force

Gov. Mark Dayton has named Margaret Anderson Kelliher, former Minnesota House Speaker and 2010 candidate for governor, to lead a new task force aimed at expanding the use of broadband in Minnesota.

The 15-member task force is charged with coming up with a plan involving both greater availability of high-speed Internet in all parts of the state and greater use of broadband by state residents, particularly among those groups that use the Internet less than others -- older people, low-income people and some minorities.

See background here on the expectations for the task force and the state's effort to raise Minnesota's ranking on the availability and use of broadband.

In announcing the task force, state commerce commissioner Mike Rothman said 3.4 percent of the state still needs broadband infrastructure, my MPR News colleague Tim Pugmire reported this morning. That's almost 67,000 homes, mostly rural, Rothman said.

Anderson Kelliher is the director of the Minnesota High Tech Association.

Here's the rest of the task force, which includes representation from both large and small Internet providers, minority groups, the foundation world and local government. Also represented are education and the health industry, two prime potential users of greater access.

Shirley Walz, senior director of technology for Thomson Reuters. The original task force that came up with state goals in 2009 was chaired by Rick King of Thomson Reuters.

Bernadine Joselyn, director of public policy and engagement for the Blandin Foundation. Blandin was the recipient of almost $5 million in federal stimulus money to increase Internet adoption around the state. Joselyn has been involved with the effort in several dozen communities to expand use.

Steve Lewsader, president of the Communication Workers of America, Local 7201.

Duane Ring, president of the nine-state Midwest Region of CenturyLink.

Gary Evans, chief executive officer of Hiawatha Broadband Company, which helps communities develop broadband service.

Dick Sjoberg, Sjoberg's Cable, a telecommunications provider in Thief River Falls.

Daniel Richter, President of MVTV Wireless, a wireless broadband provider based in Granite Falls.

Danna MacKenzie, director of information systems for Cook County. The county is one of the most remote in the state, as far as broadband availability is concerned. But the local electrical cooperative is building a fiber network with the use of federal stimulus money.

Maureen Ideker, director of Telehealth, Essentia Health. The promise of providing health care remotely is one of the most commonly cited reasons to expand high-speed Internet access.

Matt Grose, superintendent, Deer River Public Schools. Education is another area often cited as a potential beneficiary of broadband.

Steve Peterson, Bloomington City Council.

Bob Bass, Bloomington, AT&T Wireless.

Keith Modglin, information systems director for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. Indian reservations are among the lowest-served areas in the nation for broadband.

Bao Vang, president and chief operating officer of the Hmong-American Partnership.

The task force is a two-year appointment but is expected to come up with an early set of recommendations for the Legislature early in 2012.

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