Todd County, a rural community "where the forest meets the prairie" along I-94 in the geographic center of Minnesota, is the latest of many counties to examine local solutions to their lack of affordable, fast, reliable, and certainly universal access to the Internet. This could be a blueprint for how to initiate a process to improve broadband in a rural community.
Todd County is quite rural, with about 10,000 households and businesses that could be wired for service.
From what I have learned, this initiative originated with a group of beef farmers who are tired of being left behind on the rural world wide wait. They pushed the Todd County Livestock Advisory Committee, which pushed on the County, which approved the following resolution [pdf]:
RESOLUTION OF SUPPORT TO ESTABLISH RECIPROCAL BROADBAND SERVICES COUNTY WIDE, KNOWN HEREAFTER AS TODD COUNTY FIBERBAND
WHEREAS, the world’s cultural and economic environment is becoming increasingly more knowledge-driven and information-based, and Todd County citizens, businesses, and agriculture need access to that information, and;
WHEREAS, research indicates that introduction of broadband in to rural areas increases the rate of job growth and income of rural areas and that the presence of broadband in a community is the greatest indicator of future economic success, and;
WHEREAS, broadband access has evolved from a luxury and entertainment item to an essential infrastructure for business, health care, education and government and the speeds needed to maintain local and global competitiveness are greater than telecommunication companies serving Todd County are willing to provide, and;
WHEREAS, demand exists for broadband access, but without a concerted and unified effort being made to obtain appropriate access for the citizens of Todd County, it is likely that demand will not be met, and;
WHEREAS, this body wants its citizens to maintain the highest quality of life and its businesses to be as competitive and productive as possible, the highest speed, highest capacity broadband, and other telecommunications services are critical for maintaining a healthy and competitive community, and;