The Connected Nation Blog: November 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Governor’s Task Force Prepares to Tackle the Digital Divide

Bloomington, MN - Today marks the first meeting of the Minnesota Governor’s Broadband Task Force. In September, Governor Mark Dayton issued an Executive Order to establish a Governor’s Task Force on Broadband and has directed the Minnesota Department of Commerce to create a Broadband Development Office.

Key items on today’s agenda will include reviewing the Task Force requirements, discussing recommendations on how best to proceed, considering future meeting dates and potential locations, and discussions on information and resources for the Task Force.

The Task Force mandate is to:
  • Develop, implement, and promote state broadband policy, planning, and initiatives to achieve state broadband needs and goals
  • Inventory, assess, and report on various aspects of broadband
  • Develop a Minnesota Broadband Plan outline

The Task Force is comprised of members representing both metropolitan and rural Minnesota regions and representing a variety of broadband interests including consumers, education institutions, healthcare institutions, telephone, cable, and wireless companies.

Broadband technology is a powerful tool that Minnesota residents are using on a daily basis because of the value that it brings to their lives. Connect Minnesota is working to make high-speed Internet available statewide, while empowering every Minnesota resident to use broadband to enrich their lives.

To achieve these goals, Connect Minnesota has conducted a survey of 3,032 residents across the state to see if they access broadband, and if so, how they are using it. In addition, we have conducted the largest state-level survey of people who do not subscribe to broadband to see what is preventing them from joining the digital community. Based on this data, we estimate that approximately 666,000 adults statewide do not have home broadband service, and adoption varies significantly across socioeconomic lines.

We will assist the Governor’s Broadband Task Force in working to ensure that all can experience the benefits of broadband.

Want to learn more?

Please take a moment to explore our new website and please Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter!

Stay Connected!

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Great Deals, Less Stress!

Over $52.4 billion was spent on Black Friday (a new record!) as over 226 million shoppers braved long-lines and crowded stores to get deals they couldn't pass up. But Black Friday was just the beginning ...

Today is Cyber Monday and it's on pace to be the biggest ever, with over $1 billion in online sales. That means businesses will be rolling out can't-miss deals and savings for their online customers. While your friends, family, and neighbors were sitting in lines at their favorite stores, you can sit back in your favorite chair and handle your holiday shopping online.

Only a few years ago, online shopping was still in its infancy and it was unknown whether people would adapt to purchasing something they couldn't first hold in their hands. However, with the influx of broadband adoption and access as well as the continued expansion of mobile Internet, more and more people are researching goods and services online. Our research show that in most states, over 60% of adults will research or make purchases online. If you're a business person or savvy buyer banking on a successful Cyber Monday, that is great news.

Cyber Monday represents another clear example of how broadband adoption and expansion can have a powerful impact on communities and business across the country. Retailers are increasingly relying on online sales, and our efforts to bring broadband to more homes means they have a larger market to reach. On the consumer side, it allows people the option to avoid stressful holiday shopping and handle things in a much more user-friendly, efficient manner.

Are you planning on making purchases online today or at some point this holiday season? Let us know and take a look at this interesting article about some of the best places to check out for Cyber Monday deals!

Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

We're Thankful For You!

By Jessica Ditto, Director of Communications, Connected Nation

Our efforts to increase broadband access and adoption are not simply about wires and cable -- it's about helping change lives through the opportunities that broadband provides.  The digital divide in our country is keeping those opportunities out of the hands of many, but our work continues to bridge the gap.  Because of your support, we continue to bring broadband to more schools, businesses, and communities across the nation.  Today, we wanted to simply say how thankful we are for your support!

This month, we've been asking people to share their stories about why they're thankful for broadband.  The response we received has been overwhelming and we wanted to share with you a few of the touching stories of how broadband is improving the quality of life for people all over our country.

  • Dee W. said, "We are a home-school family, so using broadband Internet access has been very helpful for the kids' research on school projects.  My high school kids take dual enrollment classes online to get college credit, so having broadband was a must.  Before we had broadband they had to go to town for weekly class chats and online assignments - quite a hassle!  Now they can work from home.  And when my college kids come home they can access their college website and do work while home for the weekend."
  • Ronald M. said, "I treasure the times that my grandchildren come to me and say, 'papaw,'  If it were not for broadband, I would miss this precious time."
  • Pam C. said, "I'm so thankful to have broadband Internet, which allows me to Skype with my daughter who is in the Navy hundreds of miles away. It also allows me to keep in touch with my sisters and my grandkids and kids. It has definitely brought our family closer together. We also stay in touch via Facebook."

The stories continue to pour in from people who have benefited from broadband.  Your help and support bringing awareness to our efforts, and keeping up-to-date on our work is one of the biggest reasons why the broadband gap continues to close, and areas without access continue to dwindle.

From all of us at Connected Nation, we wish you a very safe and happy Thanksgiving and hope that you and your family have a very pleasant week!

Stay Connected and join us on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about our efforts!


The Thanks that Broadband is Giving

By Jeremy Thacker, Communications Specialist, Connected Nation

Feeling some stress from holiday turkeys, tasks, and travel?

Look no further than your Internet-connected desktop, laptop, or smart phone.

According to National Geographic, our pilgrim-inspired feast of thanks took root in American culture in the 1800s and it’s clear that we’ve come a long way since then.

Broadband is impacting American life at a rapid pace and it’s shedding a whole new light on long-standing traditions in the process.

These days, the endless amounts of information available online is truly amazing. A few key words into your favorite online search engine like Bing, Google, or Yahoo and you can answer just about any question you can think to ask.

Don’t know what size turkey to buy? Just tell Butterball or Jennie-O how many people you need to feed. They’ll even give thawing and cooking instructions.

Need some last-minute recipes? Websites like Martha Stewart and The Food Network are standing by with ideas that range from traditional trimmings to organic gourmet.

Earth 911 is one of the sites offering a step-by-step guide to keeping your celebration as “green” as possible.

And don’t worry if you accidently set off that sensitive smoke alarm! A quick visit to a site like eHow can help you hush the noise and reset your kitchen serenity in seconds.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates more than 42 million Americans will drive more than 50 miles for the holiday weekend and getting lost is now largely a thing of the past with on-demand maps and turn-by-turn directions available from a host of sites like Rand McNally, Google, and Yahoo maps.

Need to know about airport delays or track exactly what time Aunt Susie’s flight will be landing? The FAA and services like Flight Stats and FlyteComm have you covered, with real-time maps and flight landing times down to the minute.

For those loved ones who cannot come join the table in-person, there’s nothing like a face-to-face video chat to ease the absence. Free services like Skype give you the next-best-thing to being there.

Once you get everyone together, why not a little holiday dinner table trivia? The History Channel and National Geographic websites are great places to start. You’ll find fun facts about the 46-million turkeys eaten across the country on Thanksgiving and Minnesota being the top turkey-producing state.

And, after all the turkey has been slept off, broadband can help you hit your Christmas shopping with a vengeance! Look up holiday hours and Black Friday sale details to all of your favorite stores, or take it easy, stay in you PJs, and cash in on the deals most online retailers are now offering as part of Cyber Monday.

So much online and so little time! Happy Thanksgiving! 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Former FCC Commissioner Addresses the Need to Expand Broadband in Puerto Rico

Broadband holds the keys to our communities’ economic and social prosperity

By Wil Payton, Communications Specialist, Connected Nation

Former Federal Communications Commissioner and Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA) Strategic Counsel Henry Rivera highlighted the importance of expanding broadband and closing the digital divide for Latinos in a speech Thursday to the National Caucus of Hispanic State Legislator Summit at the El Conquistador Resort in Fajardo.

Rivera, who was the first Hispanic FCC Commissioner, works with the IIA to promote universal broadband. IIA is a national coalition dedicated to expanding access to high-speed broadband to all Americans including in Puerto Rico.

During his presentation — Connecting the Dots in the Digital Age: Policy, Social Capital and Advocacy — he called for eliminating the gap, or “digital divide,” that exists between those who have access to information technology and the resources and skills necessary to effectively participate as digital citizens and those who do not.

“You can see the link between broadband and opportunity, between broadband and an overall potential for improvement in so many areas of life and living,” said Rivera. “Latino families that do not have access to broadband, or that have access but do not adopt broadband technology, will inevitably be left behind in this new Internet age. It is as simple as that and it’s an outcome our country cannot afford.”

In a recently released report by Connect Puerto Rico, new data estimates indicate that 86% of households have broadband available at basic connection speeds (768 kbps download/200 kbps upload speeds). The estimate drops significantly when looking at higher connection speeds necessary to support Internet applications that consumers are increasingly demanding, such as video streaming. An estimated 41% of households across the island have broadband available at speeds of 6 Mbps/768 kbps or higher.

“The Latino community has many pressing challenges as we look for ways to grow the economy, grow jobs, make healthcare more affordable and accessible, and increase the quality of our educational system,“ said Rivera. “While jobs are a priority for everyone, they are particularly critical for our community because unemployment among Latinos is above 11 percent, significantly higher than the national average.”

Rivera is also a partner with Wiley Rein LLP, where he specializes in representing telecom and media companies before the FCC, Congress, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and the White House.

Want to learn more about the digital divide and how you can help Connect Puerto Rico build awareness on broadband adoption and access? Take a moment to Follow us on Twitter, and Like us on Facebook to stay informed on the latest news!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Michigan Seniors Feeling the Digital Divide

by Hongqiang Sun and Dev Joshi, Research Analysts for Connected Nation

The Internet is a tool that has proven to be useful for all ages--allowing people across the country to connect and schools, businesses, and communities to flourish in new ways.

Last month, Project GOAL (Get Older Adults Online) hosted a meeting in Washington, DC that highlighted how technology adoption can impact seniors’ lives by improving their access to healthcare, making it easier to stay in touch with friends and family, and empowering them to stay active in their communities. 

Unfortunately, many seniors still do not subscribe to broadband service.

According to the recently released 2011 Michigan residential broadband adoption survey, about 838,000 Michigan adults age 70 or older (or 81%) don’t subscribe to home broadband service. In fact, more than half of Michigan adults in this age group don’t use the Internet at all.  By comparison, only 32% of Michiganders age 18-69 don’t have home broadband service and fewer than one in five say they don’t use the Internet.

The gap in broadband adoption and access is not only being impacted by location and economic standing, but clearly, by age as well.

Over the next several months, Connect Michigan and other CN programs will be highlighting the results of the new research and examining more startling evidence of the impact the digital divide has had on our state. 

Stay connected through our blog, Like us on Facebook, or Follow us on Twitter to see the latest broadband research.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Celebrating GIS Day at Connected Nation

By Ashley Littell, Manager, GIS Services

What’s the best way to get to the game? Where’s the nearest Italian restaurant?

You may not realize it, but finding locations on a map or getting directions are just two ways everybody uses geographic information systems (GIS). But GIS is much more than just maps and locations. This rapidly evolving technology empowers professionals, researchers, and educators to visualize an issue and solve it through analysis and data visualization.  It’s a technology that makes Connected Nation’s mission of increased broadband access and adoption possible.

I’m Ashley Littell, manager of GIS Services for Connected Nation. Today we’re joining more than a million people across the world celebrating GIS Day, an annual event building awareness and understanding of our world through the power of GIS. GIS Day is part of the National Geographic Society's Geography Action, a year-long initiative encompassing key educational achievements such as GIS Day and Geography Awareness Week.

Connected Nation
has been using GIS in daily operations for several years now. It’s an essential part of the mission of Connected Nation as we strive to accelerate broadband availability in underserved areas and increase broadband use in both rural and urban areas. Connected Nation creates maps of broadband service inventories in several states, and uses GIS to analyze the markets where broadband is available, and more importantly, where it is not.

Our research ultimately helps increase access to and use of broadband, meaning stronger economic and community development, better education, new business opportunities, higher quality healthcare, more efficient public service, and improved quality of life.  

These goals would be almost impossible to achieve without GIS.
According to, “On any given day, more than two million people around the world use GIS to improve the way their organizations see customers;” Connected Nation is one of those organizations. We utilize GIS technology to increase awareness to a particular cause with practical, “real-world” implications. As the technology continues to grow and mature, Connected Nation will leverage future GIS capabilities and functionalities to achieve the mission of broadband service for all.


Follow the 2011 Broadband Conference!

Connect Minnesota and the Blandin Foundation are excited to be hosting this year’s 2011 Broadband Conference. The conference will focus on ARRA broadband funding efforts that are underway in Minnesota as well as our continued efforts to bring broadband to more schools, businesses, and communities across our state.

We look forward to the more than 100 policymakers from the private, government, and nonprofit sectors who will be attending and discussing their ideas and input on how to bring broadband to more rural and low-income homes.

These discussions will promote a better understanding of how policy impacts policymakers and those seeking to obtain broadband access. Through the sharing of tools and accomplishments of ARRA projects, attendees will celebrate the progress toward meeting broadband adoption goals while planning for future endeavors.

Do you want to join the conversation? Search #mnbb2011 and @BFBroadband for highlights from the conference and be sure to follow @ConnectMN on Twitter for live updates from the conference. If you have questions, send us a tweet and we'll get you answers!

Stay Connected!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Connected Nation & Announce Partnership

National nonprofit working for broadband expansion joins forces with nation’s top website featuring youth sports

Youth sports have always been a cornerstone of communities across our nation -- families, friends, and neighbors united in cheering on the young talent.  That is why Connected Nation is proud to announce our new partnership with -- a company that helps promote and strengthen the passion for youth supports through the innovative use of broadband.

Jim Host, chairman and CEO of said of the new partnership: “I have always been impressed with the direction and leadership of Connected Nation - we are delighted to have them as part of our team.” provides schools, colleges, and other youth-related organizations with free web tools and video streaming. Students, coaches, alumni, boosters, and other supporters can easily connect with other athletes and teams at a local, state, and national level. is the No. 1 website in the country with live streaming of youth activities with more than 6,600 active schools and 24,000 users from the US and around the world.

The partnership with Connected Nation will allow both organizations to excel in their shared ambition to connect more schools, businesses, communities, and families through innovative broadband use and adoption.

Fort Myers High School, one of the largest schools in Florida, is using to broadcast its 2011-2012 boys' basketball season. Today for the first time, fans, family, and college recruiters can capture the Pre-Season Tip-off Classic vs. Coral Gables LIVE here: The game starts at 7:30 p.m. EST.

We encourage you to check out the game and support our new partners. If you would like to get your school connected through’s free, web streaming portal contact us at  For more information on upcoming events, partnerships, and broadband news, be sure to Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter today.

Stay Connected!

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Wired for Success Afternoon Recap

The afternoon session at Wired for Success focused on some of the great opportunities being presented to Nevada through increased broadband adoption and expansion.

The afternoon began with a work force training panel that discussed a variety of issues regarding broadband in Nevada.  

That was followed by Lynn O'Mara the State Health Information Technology Coordinator who discussed the relationship between e-Health and broadband that Connect Nevada examined in a study released this past week.

Finally, Connected Nation’s Michael Ramage took the stage to talk about how communities can rally support for broadband expansion and how such increased adoption can lead to better schools, businesses, and communities.

More than 110 business leaders, government officials, tribal representatives, community leaders, and experts from across Nevada helped make the Wired for Success Summit a great success.  We appreciate all of you who attended, as well as those who watched online, or followed our live updates on Twitter!

Want to continue to stay involved?  Follow Connect Nevada on Twitter and Like us on Facebook to stay informed on the latest news regarding broadband adoption across the state.  With your help we can raise awareness of the digital divide and help bring broadband to more schools, businesses, and communities!

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The 97%

By John Walker, Research and GIS Analyst

Last week, the United Nations announced that there are now estimated to be 7 billion people on the planet. But, what does that mean in terms of technology?

By the year 2015, Cisco estimates that 3 billion people worldwide will be Internet users.  Less than two decades ago the Internet was still finding its way and now it’s connecting billions of people in every corner of the world. The devices and platforms of three billion Internet users will undoubtedly include mobile accessibility as a portion of the Internet experience. In the United States, connectivity to the Internet through hand-held mobile devices is becoming more prevalent. 

It has been reported this year that there are more that 82 million smartphone owners in the U.S. and more than 10 million tablet computer owners in 2010. These devices rely on mobile broadband networks for connectivity when away from Internet connection services like WiFi. The National Broadband Map shows that 97% of America has access to some form of mobile wireless

How has mobile broadband impacted the way your get online?  Let us know and join the conversation now!

In residential technology surveys conducted by Connected Nation this year, 42% of all respondents stated that they access the Internet via a cell phone or subscribe to mobile wireless services via a laptop. Both Florida and Texas have the highest rate of mobile Internet usage with 48% each in the 2011 residential surveys. This translates into 7 million adults in Florida and 8.8 million adults in Texas who access mobile Internet.

The bottom-line?  Mobile broadband is helping bridge the digital divide.

For a moment, let’s look at mobile usage among households that do not adopt home broadband service. Twenty-three percent of all non-adopters surveyed use mobile Internet service in some capacity. Nearly one third (30%) of non-adopters in Texas use mobile broadband services on their cell phone or laptop computers as opposed to subscribing to home broadband. That is significantly higher than in all states that Connected Nation conducted a residential survey in. 

Mobile broadband services allow more people to connect, whether they have home services or not. 

Over the next few months, Connected Nation will be releasing reports from its 2011 residential technology assessments.  The research shows the impact of broadband access and the digital divide created in areas that lack access.  Talk a look at our interactive infographic to learn more:

If mobile broadband has changed the way you use the Internet and how you communicate with friends, family, and colleagues, tell us your story at our website,  Facebook or Twitter.

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Wired for Success Morning Recap

This morning, the Wired for Success Summit got off to a fast start with keynote addresses from Broadband Taskforce Chairman Daphne DeLeon and Deputy Director of the Governor's Office on Economic Development Michael Skaggs.

Both speakers praised the event with DeLeon calling it "an unprecedented opportunity to foster new partnerships and foster broadband growth across the state" and Skaggs pointing out that the seven major growth industries in Nevada will all benefit from increased broadband expansion and adoption.

The theme from the speakers, and those in attendance, has been on the many opportunities that will be had by expanding broadband into the many rural areas of Nevada, as well as into low-income communities where the digital divide is at its greatest.  

Have you been following the action at Wired for Success?  Be sure to check back into the live video feed after lunch and continue following the hashtag #NVBroadband on Twitter to get the latest news from the event.

Tune in LIVE to today’s Broadband Summit: Wired for Success!

By Jeremy Thacker, Communications Specialist, Connect Nevada

Leaders from across Nevada are coming together today to revitalize the state’s economy through broadband, and we want you to join the conversation. The first ever Nevada Broadband Summit is bringing more than a hundred attendees to Dayton Intermediate School in Dayton, Nevada to discuss how increased broadband expansion and adoption will lead to more opportunities in schools, businesses, and communities across the state.

The agenda is packed with speakers and panelists who will discuss the critical role broadband will play in creating new jobs and promoting economic development across Nevada. You can watch the event LIVE starting at 9:00am (PST) by clicking the link from the Connect Nevada webpage.  

Click now and follow Wired for Success!

We’d also like to encourage you to join the conversation live by following the hashtag, #NVBroadband on Twitter and submitting any questions you may have for our team of experts to address.

Please join us at 9:00am (PST) to join the conversation at Wired for Success!

Today’s historic summit is hosted by the nonprofit Connect Nevada initiative and the governor’s Nevada Broadband Task Force. Watch for our live updates on this blog throughout the day and look for our complete wrap-up blog tomorrow!

Note: Mac users must have the FLIP4MAC plug-in! It can be downloaded at: and choose the "Try for free" button.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

FCC’s Connect to Compete Initiative Offers Low-Income Households an Opportunity to Get Connected

By Travis Lane, Research Analyst for Connected Nation

According to a new NTIA report, 32% of American households do not subscribe to home broadband service, meaning that approximately 100 million Americans are at risk of being left behind as educators and employers increasingly move online. For many families, particularly those with low annual household incomes, cost is a major barrier to broadband adoption. According to research conducted by Connected Nation earlier this year, 44% of low-income households with children (those reporting annual incomes of $25,000 or less) who do not subscribe to home broadband service say cost is a barrier to adoption.

This includes 25.4% who say the monthly cost of subscribing to broadband is too expensive, 13.2% who say that a computer is too expensive, and 4.9% who report that the activation and installation fees are too expensive.

Enter Connect to Compete, a partnership of leading Internet service providers, technology companies, and non-profits (including Connected Nation) being led by the FCC. Yesterday, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced that Connect to Compete would work to address these cost barriers by making reduced-cost broadband service available to households that qualify for the National School Lunch Program, including a rental modem (for two years), free installation, and 1 Mbps access. In addition to the broadband service, Connect to Compete will provide refurbished computers at a reduced cost, which will come preloaded with educational and career content and Microsoft software. Since this program is aimed at low-income families (many of whom would still be unable to afford the reduced price tag), a microcredit program is also being developed to help families pay for the computers.

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

10 Ways to Avoid Phishing E-mails and other E-mail Scams

As a follow-up to National Cybersecurity Awareness Month,
below are tips to help you stay safe online:

1. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
2. Be suspicious of unsolicited e-mail messages. If an unknown individual claims to be from a legitimate organization, try to verify his or her identity directly with the company.
3. Treat e-mail attachments with caution.
4. Don’t click links in e-mail messages.
5. Do not reveal personal or financial information via unsecured e-mail.
6. Don't send sensitive information over the Internet before checking a website's security.
7. Take advantage of any anti-phishing features offered by your e-mail client and web browser.
8. Configure your e-mail client for security.
9. Learn the e-mail policies of the organizations you do business with.
10. Take your time. Resist any urge to "act now" despite the offer and the terms. Once you turn over your money, you may never get it back.

Other Useful Sites and Information Sources


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Puerto Rico Telecom Conference 2011

The New Future
By Wil Payton, Communications Specialist, Connected Nation

Things are gearing up for the Puerto Rico Telecom Conference 2011 that is being hosted by the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce (PRCC) on November 9 in San Juan.

This event is designed to provide opportunities for exchanging ideas about how telecommunications technologies, greater Internet access, and online information flow can help companies to communicate, transact and innovate.

The conference will provide a unique opportunity to share insights and ideas with colleagues and peers, and network with visionaries, including expert speakers, key stakeholders, and business leaders redefining the digital world. Some 300 executives and entrepreneurs from the telecom and technology sector will attend the conference.

One conference session of broad scope is Broadband Innovation and Expansion in Puerto Rico. It will be moderated by Juan Aguayo-Leal, Industrias Puertorriqueñas de PRIDCO. Invited panelist include: Sandra E. Torres López, Esq., President of the Puerto Rico Telecommunications Regulatory Board, Juan Eugenio Rodriguez, Puerto Rico Chief Information Officer, and Oscar Jiménez, President of INTECO.

The subject during the lunch session will be Puerto Rico in Obama’s Broadband Plan and the invited keynote speaker is Anna M. Gómez, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and Deputy Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), U.S. Department of Commerce.

To register click here.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

2011 Connect Minnesota Broadband Conference

Blandin Foundation and Connect Minnesota host this year’s 2011 Broadband Conference, which will focus on the ARRA Broadband funding efforts that have been underway in Minnesota. 

Through discussions with national and local policy leaders; community leaders will have a better understanding how policy impacts them and how they link to the big picture. Through the sharing of tools and accomplishments of ARRA projects, we will celebrate the progress towards meeting goals while planning for the future.

A block of rooms will be held through November 2 at the Sheraton Duluth Hotel under the name “Broadband Conference.” The conference rate is $99-119 per night. To reserve your room, call (218) 733-5660 or visit Please note that lodging is NOT included in the registration fee.

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