Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Newly Named Executive Director of Broadband Development Spotlights Access

 

September 11, 2020

As Angie Dickison formally steps into her role as Executive Director of DEED's Office of Broadband Development, she is traveling across the state to boost awareness of initiatives designed to help Minnesota achieve its goal of border-to-border high-speed internet access.

Angie was appointed to this position last month by Governor Tim Walz, but has been filling this role in an interim capacity while serving as broadband development manager since July 2019.

Over the last year, Angie and her office have focused on three priorities:

Availability of Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant funding: The Minnesota Legislature appropriated $20 million in funding for the 2020 grants program. Grant applications are due by 4 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 30. This grant program was established in 2014 by the Minnesota Legislature to help fund projects that might not be feasible without public financial assistance. Since 2014, the program has invested $105 million across Minnesota through 140 projects, which have connected nearly 50,000 homes, businesses, farms, and community institutions.

Growth of Telecommuting: Through the Telecommuter Forward! initiative, communities across Minnesota apply for certification recognizing their commitment to coordinating and partnering with broadband providers, realtors, economic development professionals, employers, employees, and other stakeholders to promote the availability of telecommuting options in their region. As the COVID-19 pandemic has made clear, internet access is critical to our economy and our quality of life.

Launch of an updated broadband mapping tool: In August, the Office of Broadband Development released an updated, interactive broadband mapping tool on a new platform with enhanced features to assist consumers and communities looking for broadband access options.

In recent months, Angie has traveled across Minnesota – from North Branch to Bigfork and New Ulm – visiting project groundbreakings and keeping the focus on local communities. She took part in the celebration of Telecommuter Forward! Day in August when then first group of 23 communities statewide were certified as telecommuter-friendly.

We know high-speed access is key to Minnesota's economic vitality, and Angie is deeply committed to helping Minnesotans understand available broadband options and to working with communities and other stakeholders on expanding access and digital equity across the state.

We are pleased to have Angie formally take on the role of executive director of the Office of Broadband Development, and look forward to her leadership in helping Minnesota reach its broadband goals.

Congratulations, Angie!

– Kevin McKinnon, Deputy Commissioner, Economic Development

 

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