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Paul Bunyan Communications Named 2015 Smart Rural Community Showcase Award Winner


(Bemidji, MN) (November 3, 2015) -NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association, the premier national association representing nearly 900 independent, community-based telecommunications companies, is pleased to announce that Paul Bunyan Communications has been named a winner of the NTCA Smart Rural Community Award for its entire service area of northern Minnesota.

The goal of the NTCA Smart Rural Community initiative is to foster the development of smart communities throughout rural America and Canada by encouraging innovative implementation of broadband solutions and access to next-generation applications for distance learning, telehealth services, public safety and security. Smart Rural Community provides educational programming, matching grant resources and an award program to recognize top-performing communities. NTCA recognized Paul Bunyan Communications as a rural service provider that embodies Smart Rural Community principles.

The Smart Rural Community Award usually is often given to a telecommunications company for a specific designated city served, but Paul Bunyan Communications was provided the distinction for its entire service area due to the cooperatives all-fiber optic network serving over 90% of its 5,000+ square mile service territory, it's GigaZone initiative to have one of the largest rural Gigabit networks in the United States, and several other economic development partnerships.

"We are very proud that NTCA has recognized our efforts with the Smart Rural Community Showcase Award. Our cooperative strives to provide our members and region the very best in communication services that allows for innovation implementation. Our GigaZone initiative to build one of the largest rural Gigabit fiber networks in the United States and our partnership with Greater Bemidji on the technology-rich Mayflower smart building project are just two examples of this. Keeping our communities connected to the very latest in technology is vital to the future of the region," said Gary Johnson, Paul Bunyan Communications CEO/General Manager.

NTCA Smart Rural Community award recipients were recognized at a gathering of more than 1,500 rural telecom leaders in Boston. In addition to receiving national and local recognition for their extraordinary efforts, Paul Bunyan Communications will join recipients of prior year awards to formulate best practices and assist other rural communities in the implementation of innovative broadband-enabled solutions to drive economic and community strength in rural areas throughout the nation.

For more information about the initiative, visit

About NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association

NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association is the premier association representing nearly 900 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America. NTCA advocates on behalf of its members in the legislative and regulatory arenas, and it provides training and development; publications and industry events; and an array of employee benefit programs. In an era of exploding technology, deregulation and marketplace competition, NTCA's members are leading the IP evolution for rural consumers, delivering technologies that make rural communities vibrant places in which to live and do business. Because of their efforts, rural America is fertile ground for innovation in economic development and commerce, education, health care, government services, security and smart energy use. Visit us at

About Paul Bunyan Communications

Paul Bunyan Communications has the region's largest and fastest all fiber optic network with over 5,000 square miles throughout most of Beltrami County and portions of Hubbard, Itasca, Koochiching, and St. Louis Counties. The Cooperative provides Broadband High Speed Internet Services, digital and high definition television services, Smart Home services, digital voice services, and more.


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