Read more stories about
Main Street Montana Project >>

MATR Sponsor:

MATR Supporters:

Last Best Conference in Missoula 8/25-26 - Main Street Montana Project Broadband leaders Bill Squires and Rob Ferris see potential for connections

August 16, 2016View for printing

There is no better place than the Last Best Conference coming up in Missoula Aug. 25-26 to see firsthand the convergence of technology with the passions of thinkers, creators and innovators. This year's inaugural "LBCon," hosted by the Blackstone Launchpad at the University of Montana, aims to grow into a SXSW-style festival that grows Montana's regional and national business, creative and entrepreneurial connections.


Full Opinion: ... 38b29e.html


Main Street Montana Broadband Key Industry Committee



Create an interactive broadband map, maintained by the Department of Commerce that complies with, at a minimum, the following criteria:

Location of broadband assets and capacity, with clear definitions of availability

"Workable" non-disclosure agreements must be available to providers to protect confidential information while providing usable data for mapping purposes

Carrier/provider contact information should be readily available on the map

A "challenge" process should be developed allowing both providers and consumers to easily challenge and correct the information available through the interactive map

The KIN believes that ongoing maintenance will require minimal time and resources when combined with the Department's current infrastructure mapping platform


The 2017 Montana Legislature should commit a minimum of $25 million over the biennium to take a small step forward in partially funding projects which:

Target unserved or underserved areas

Encourage public-private investment by requiring at least 50% of project funding come from private investment

Encourage innovative funding which allows non-profit and other grant funding as part of the private investment requirement

Additionally, encourage tax (both income and property) incentives for the extension of broadband in both urban and rural areas

INTERCONNECTIVITY & TELECOMMUNICATIONS KIN RECOMMENDATION 3 (of 4) The 2017 Montana Legislature should adopt legislation which: Mandates that all State agencies, as well as county and local permitting authorities, issue all permits within 30 days of receipt of a complete application

Calls on state agencies to review and simplify permit applications, including survey requirements, to the greatest extent possible

Eliminates all permitting fees

Encourages "dig once" policies where feasible


The Governor should appoint, and seek funding through HB2 for, a Broadband Advisory Task Force (or other name determined appropriate by the Governor), consisting of private and public stakeholders, which at a minimum would be charged with:

Assisting in further developing and implementing the Broadband Mapping recommendation set forth above

Assisting in further developing and supporting the funding legislation recommended above

Serving as a communication hub for broadband education

Advising state agencies on community infrastructure development that includes broadband

Further developing means by which federal programs (e.g. E-Rate) can be leveraged for the benefit of the State Conducting research into best practices and methods including assessing rural needs, actual speeds, and expansion of services

Assisting in determining future broadband programs and legislation

Keeping all private industry stakeholders actively engaged



Governor Steve Bullock initiated the Main Street Montana Project in early 2013 by enlisting the services of two of Montana's most respected and accomplished business leaders: Larry Simkins, CEO of the Washington Companies, and Bill Johnstone, CEO of D.A. Davidson Companies.

All KIN Recommendation: ... ATIONS6.odt

No reader comments so far. Be the first to comment by clicking the button below.

Reprinted under the Fair Use doctrine of international copyright law. Full copyright retained by the original publication. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

E-mail this page to a friend!