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Minnesota Lt. Governor Tina Smith Visits Paul Bunyan Communications


(Left to right) Minnesota Lt. Governor Tina Smith with Gary Johnson, Paul Bunyan Communications CEO/General Manager at PBC Headquarters in Bemidji.

(Bemidji, MN) (February 5, 2015) – Minnesota Lt. Governor Tina Smith visited the headquarters of Paul Bunyan Communications in Bemidji on Wednesday, February 3. The Lt. Governor congratulated the cooperative's staff on being a leader in bringing high quality broadband Internet service to northern Minnesota and for building one of the largest rural fiber optic Gigabit networks in the United States, the GigaZone. She also discussed the State's Border to Border Broadband Grant program which the Dayton administration has proposed $100 million in funding for 2016.

The cooperative, in partnership with the IRRRB and Itasca County, was a recipient of a grant from the 2015 Border to Border Broadband Grant program which will fund nearly $2 million of the $5.5 million Central Itasca County Broadband Project.. Construction will begin in the spring and will bring broadband Internet service with download and upload speeds of up to 1 Gigabit per second along with PBTV and voice services to nearly 1,300 locations that currently lack broadband service.

Minnesota Lt. Governor Tina Smith with Steve Howard, Paul Bunyan Communications IT & Development Manager touring of the equipment facilities at Paul Bunyan Communications.

"We are honored that Lt. Governor Smith took the time during her busy trip to Bemidji to stop at our cooperative and visit with our staff. She along with Governor Dayton are strong proponents of bringing broadband access to all Minnesotan's and we are very appreciative and supportive of their efforts. There are far too many rural areas that remain without access to broadband. We will continue to do what we can to bring it to as many in northern Minnesota as we can," said Gary Johnson, Paul Bunyan Communications CEO/General Manager.

In addition to meeting with Paul Bunyan Communications staff, the Lt. Governor toured the cooperative's facility.

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, Cass , and St. Louis Counties. The Cooperative provides Fiber Optic High Speed Internet Services, digital and high definition television services, Smart Home services, digital voice services, and more.


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