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Pick-it Bowl ChallengePaul Bunyan Communications 3rd Annual Pick-it Bowl Challenge Winners

Paul Bunyan Communications is excited to announce the winners of the 3rd Annual Pick-it Bowl Challenge, a free online contest for participants to pick the winners for the 2017-18 College Bowl games for a chance to win a credit on a Paul Bunyan Communications account.

2nd Place - Mary Kueber, Park Rapids1st Place - Jason Bergin, BlackduckWinners of the Paul Bunyan Communications Pick-it Bowl Challenge

The top 10 finishers all won a credit on their Paul Bunyan Communications account.

  • 1st Place - $500 credit Jason Bergin, Blackduck
  • 2nd Place - $250 credit Mary Kueber, Park Rapids
  • 3rd Place - Fred Luckeroth, Park Rapids 3rd Place - $100 credit Fred Luckeroth, Park Rapids
  • 4th Place - $50 credit Carol Jordan, Grand Rapids
  • 5th Place - $25 credit Mary Zigan, Laporte
  • 6th Place - David Redding, Bemidji - $25 credit
  • 7th Place - Ron Kostohryz, Tenstrike - $25 credit
  • 8th Place - Brian Kaatz, Park Rapids - $25 credit
  • 9th Place - Paul Schultz - $25 credit
  • 10th Place - Sherri Dahl, Mizpah - $25 credit

The next Paul Bunyan Communications Pick-It Challenge is March Mania for the College Division 1 Men's Basketball Tournament.

2017 FRS Youth Tour Group16-17 Year Old High School Students: Enter the Paul Bunyan Communications Youth Tour Essay Contest for a Chance to Win a Trip to Washington D.C. Deadline is Friday, March 16

Area High School Students age 16 o 17 are encouraged to enter the Paul Bunyan Communications Essay Contest for a chance to attend the 2018 Youth Tour in Washington, D.C. June 2-6, with all expenses paid by Paul Bunyan Communications.

Students interested in attending the Youth Tour need to submit a short essay, no more than 500 words in length, on why they would like to attend the Youth Tour. Students must be 16 or 17 years of age and in high school with their parent/guardian a member of Paul Bunyan Communications Cooperative.

Entries can be dropped off at the Paul Bunyan Communications office in Bemidji or Grand Rapids, or they can mailed to:

  • Paul Bunyan Communications Essay Contest
    1831 Anne St. NW
    Bemidji, MN 56601

The deadline for entries is Friday, March 16.

The trip features a comprehensive overview of the telecommunications industry, including careers in telecom, the critical role telecommunications plays in rural America, and how legislative and regulatory decisions affect the industry. The tour allows youth to meet with members of Congress who represent rural constituents. They also participate in educational sessions about the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Students visit some of the nation's most historic sites, including Mount Vernon, the Smithsonian Museums, and a beautiful night tour of our Washington D.C.

"We hope that by providing our youth with telecommunications services comparable to those found in urban areas, as well as exposing them to cultural and educational opportunities, such as the FRS Youth Tour, our youth will remain in and become active members in their rural communities," said Brian Bissonette, Paul Bunyan Communications Marketing Supervisor.

The Foundation for Rural Service is dedicated to informing and to improving the quality of life throughout rural America. Each year, it organizes the Youth Tour, designed to educate rural youth about the telecommunications industry and the federal political process. The FRS is a subsidiary of the NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association of which Paul Bunyan Communications is a member.

This is the 22st consecutive year that Paul Bunyan Communications has participated in sending a local high school student to the Youth Tour.

Chiller and RLTV (Retirement Living TV) Going Off the Air January 1.

Chiller
RLTV (Retirement Living TV)

Chiller and Retirement Living TV (RLTV) are both discontinuing operations on January 1. Both networks were a part of PBTV Extra. Chiller was on channel 162 and RLTV was on channel 388.  Paul Bunyan Television has no control over this and while unfortunate the networks have elected to shut down, there is nothing we as a TV service provider can do. 

While happening at the same time, the networks are unrelated and owned by separate companies.

Hallmark Drama and Smithsonian Channel Added to Paul Bunyan Television

Hallmark Drama
Smithsonian Channel

Hallmark Drama and the Smithsonian Channel have been added to Paul Bunyan Television service.

Hallmark Drama is available to all PBTV digital subscribers on channel 123 and in HD for PBTV HD subscribers on channel 623. Hallmark Drama is a new television network featuring new, original content produced just for Hallmark Drama and movies and series from Crown Media's library of original dramatic content. The content is different and distinct from the content on Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.

Smithsonian Channel is available to all PBTV Extra subscribers and can be found on channel 185 and in HD on channel 685 for PBTV Extra subscribers who also have PBTV HD service. Smithsonian Channel™ is where curiosity lives, inspiration strikes and wonders never cease. This is the place for awe-inspiring stories, powerful documentaries and amazing entertainment. As a joint venture, Smithsonian Channel combines the storytelling prowess of Showtime Networks with the unmatched resources and rich traditions of the Smithsonian Institution. They create award-winning programming that shines new light on popular genres such as: air and space, history, science, nature, and pop culture.

“We're excited to give our subscribers the opportunity to receive these 2 new networks, Hallmark Drama and the Smithsonian Channel as part of their Paul Bunyan Television service. We strive to provide as diverse programming as possible for the region and both of these networks provide unique content.” said Brian Bissonette, Paul Bunyan Communications Marketing Supervisor.

PBTV Extra can be added to Paul Bunyan Television service for only 09.99 per month. PBTV Extra currently includes over 40 networks featuring a wide array of programming content including news, music, sports, and entertainment.

To add to your service, call 444-1234, 999-1234, or toll free 1-888-586-3100.

Twins Caravan Coming to Bemidji on Tuesday, January 23

Twins Caravan Coming to Bemidji on Tuesday, January 23

The Minnesota Twins 58th Annual Winter Caravan, sponsored in part by Paul Bunyan Communications, is coming to Bemidji on Tuesday, January 23 at the Bemidji Eagles Club!

Scheduled guests include Jose Berrios, Eddie Rosario, along with Fox Sports North Twins play by play announcer Dick Bremer and mascot T.C.

Tickets are 08 in advance, 10 at the door. Ticket includes dinner, program, and autograph session.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m., Dinner served at 6 p.m. with program to follow.

Advance tickets are available at Paul Bunyan Broadcasting located in downtown Bemidji at 5th Street and Beltrami Avenue or the Bemidji Eagles Club.

This event is sponsored in part by PBTV, KB101, KZY 95.5, Z99, KBUN AM 1450, and KBUN FM 104.5. All proceeds of the event go to Bemidji Youth Baseball.

The longest running and most extensive offseason team caravan in professional sports, the Twins Winter Caravan is also presented in part by Fox Sports Net North and the Twins Radio Network. The Twins Winter Caravan features five teams of current and former players visiting schools, hospitals and Upper Midwest corporations and service clubs during the day with a traditional "hot stove league" program each evening.

Paul Bunyan CommunicationsPaul Bunyan Communications Statement on Net Neutrality

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently approved a plan to rescind "Net Neutrality" rules that prohibit Internet service providers (ISP) from favoring or disfavoring certain Internet traffic, content or websites.

Paul Bunyan Communications wants to reassure our members that they will not be impacted by this FCC action while using our service. The Cooperative has never treated Internet traffic differently based on application or type of traffic and has no plans to do so in the future.

"There are many concerned about today's FCC action. Time will tell whether ISP's elect to put profits ahead of what's best for customers, but as a member-owned cooperative, we certainly will not" said Gary Johnson, Paul Bunyan Communications CEO/General Manager.

Paul Bunyan CommunicationsPaul Bunyan Communications awarded State of Minnesota Border to Border Broadband Grant for portions of Itasca County, St. Louis County, and Hubbard County

Cooperative will bring Broadband network to 834 locations

Paul Bunyan CommunicationsPaul Bunyan Communications has been awarded a Border to Border Broadband Grant from the state of Minnesota to expand its fiber optic services to portions of St Louis, Hubbard and Itasca Counties.

As a result, the cooperative will begin expansion construction next spring that will pass a minimum of 830 locations. The areas include the Hwy 34 corridor between Nevis and Park Rapids in Hubbard County [Map: Park Rapids HWY 34 Cooridor], portions of the Side Lake Area that include locations in both Itasca County [Map: Side Lake Area] and St. Louis County, and an area Southeast of Bigfork and North of Scenic Highway [Map: Scenic Highway North]. The project is estimated to cost $1.78 million, with Paul Bunyan Communications contributing $980,990, and the State of Minnesota Border to Border grant contributing $802,620.

"We are excited to continue our efforts to bring broadband Internet speeds and services to those currently without it in our region. Our cooperative has a long history of expanding our network to unserved areas but it has become more difficult to go it alone without grant support. Thanks to the State of Minnesota Border to Border Grant Program we will be able to reach even more homes and businesses with speeds of up to a Gigabit per second further extending one of the largest rural Gigabit networks in the country!," said Gary Johnson, Paul Bunyan Communications CEO/General Manager.

Paul Bunyan Communications expects to finalize the expansion plans by early spring and will contact locations along the upcoming expansion routes shortly thereafter. Construction will start in the summer and will be completed by June 30, 2020. Those in the region interested in keeping up to date on the project can look for updates here on our website. Those in Itasca County can also join the Paul Bunyan Communications Itasca County Fiber Projects group on Facebook.

"This is a big deal to those in our project areas. I am excited about the opportunities that Paul Bunyan's technology will bring to these locations. Employees will be able to work from home, students will have access to vast educational resources at incredible speeds, and seniors will be able to stay in their homes longer with telemedicine." added Steve Howard, Paul Bunyan Communications Information Technology and Development Manager. "Access to high quality affordable Internet has been our focus at the cooperative since 1999. Our team has built a world class all-fiber optic network that has made it happen." said Howard.

"I must salute the hard work of our elected officials who have championed the Border to Border Broadband Grant Program. I want to thank all of them and also the Office of Broadband Development that oversees the program. This makes a world of difference in so many ways to a lot of people right here in northern Minnesota!" said Johnson.

All of the cooperative's services will become available once the network is operational including GigaZone service options like unprecedented Broadband Internet speeds of up to 1000 Mbps – a Gigabit, PBTV Fusion and low cost unlimited local and long distance GigaZone voice telephone service. There is no membership fee to join Paul Bunyan Communications, membership is included by subscribing to either local phone service or GigaZone Internet service.

Paul Bunyan Communications CEO, Gary Johnson (center) is presented with the Calix Best Innovation in Residential Subscriber Experience for 2017Paul Bunyan Communications Wins International Innovation Award

Second award the GigaZone Gaming Championship has received in 2017

Paul Bunyan Communications' GigaZone Gaming Championship, the first stadium-style eSporting event in northern Minnesota, has been awarded the Calix Best Innovation in Residential Subscriber Experience for 2017.

The Calix Innovation Awards are given annually to Calix customers – technology companies from around the world – who demonstrated outstanding creativity when leveraging Calix technology to deploy best-in-class services. The award recognizes innovation in the use of access, premises, and cloud technologies to transform businesses and networks.

"Congratulations to Paul Bunyan Communications on their Best of Innovation in Residential Subscriber Experience Award!" said Michael Weening, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Calix. "Typically, events of this type and caliber are only found in major metropolitan areas. The GigaZone Gaming Championship and other progressive initiatives underscore Paul Bunyan's commitment to their rural region and their willingness to be industry innovators and leaders, whether that's building one of the largest rural all-fiber optic gigabit broadband networks in the country or creating this exceptional gaming event. The award is well deserved."

"We are honored to receive this innovation award from Calix. It's very rewarding to see how the region is embracing this event that showcases our Calix-enabled broadband technology and creative and talented technical team. Attendance doubled at our second GigaZone Gaming Championship held in September!" said Gary Johnson, Paul Bunyan Communications CEO/General Manager.

This international award is the second prominent recognition the GigaZone Gaming Championship has received this year. In May, Paul Bunyan Communications received the 2017 TeleChoice Award for their complete marketing campaign of the GigaZone Gaming Championship by the NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association. The annual awards program honors excellence in public relations and marketing.

Paul Bunyan Communications2016 Scholarship Opportunities from Paul Bunyan Communications

Paul Bunyan Communications is committed to the communities we serve and provides over $40,000 annually in scholarships to local students within our service territory. We also offer local students the chance to apply for one statewide industry scholarship and one national industry scholarship. If you are a current high school senior or a student at one of the local post-secondary institutions, you can apply to win a Paul Bunyan Communications Scholarship!

High School Scholarships

Bemidji High School, Bigfork High School, Blackduck High School, Cass Lake High School, Deer River High School, Grand Rapids High School, Kelliher High School, Laporte High School, Northome High School, Park Rapids High School, Red Lake High School, and Walker-Hackensack-Akeley High SchoolEach year, our cooperative provides at least 2, $500 scholarships to 12 area high schools within or near our service territory. The application process, winners, and distribution of funds are handled by each high school independent of Paul Bunyan Communications.

Paul Bunyan Communications Scholarships are available at Bemidji High School, Bigfork High School, Blackduck High School, Cass Lake High School, Deer River High School, Grand Rapids High School, Kelliher High School, Laporte High School, Northome High School, Park Rapids High School, Red Lake High School, and Walker-Hackensack-Akeley High School.

To apply for the Paul Bunyan Communications Scholarship at one of these high schools, please speak to the high school counselor or career service office.

Post-Secondary Scholarships

In addition to High School Scholarships, Paul Bunyan Communications provides scholarship opportunities to the following post secondary institutions: Bemidji State University, Northwest Technical College, Itasca Community College, Red Lake Nation College, Leech Lake Tribal College, and Oak Hills Christian College.

 

Bemidji State UniversityThere are several scholarships totaling over $20,000 annually available to students attending Bemidji State University that are current members of Paul Bunyan Communications or a parent/legal guardian is a member. Applications are available in the BSU Admissions Office. Deadline for applications is February 1, 2018.

 

Northwest Technical CollegeOne $500 scholarship is awarded annually to a NTC student that is a current member or who has a parent/legal guardian that is a member of Paul Bunyan Communications. Applications are available in the NTC Admissions office or online at www.NTCmn.edu under scholarships. Deadline for applications is March 31, 2018.



Itasca Community CollegeRed Lake Nation CollegeOne $500 scholarship is awarded annually at Itasca Community College, Red Lake Nation College, Leech Lake Tribal College and Oak Hills Christian College to a student that is a current member or who has a parent/legal guardian that is a member of Paul Bunyan Communications.

Oak Hills Christian CollegeLeech Lake Tribal CollegeTo apply for the Paul Bunyan Communications Scholarship at one of these post-secondary institutions, speak to the Admissions or Career Service office at the school you attend.

Minnesota Telecom Alliance Foundation Scholarship

Minnesota Telecom AlliancePaul Bunyan Communications participates in the MTA's scholarship program which awards five $2,000 scholarships to Minnesota high school seniors each year.

The application for 2018 can be downloaded at MTA scholarship page and must be turned in to Paul Bunyan Communications no later than March 1, 2018.

A telecom alliance panel reviews each application and selects the finalists based on applicants' grades, academic achievements and extra-curricular activities. Preference to receive the scholarships is given to students who have an interest in telecommunications technology and rural communities.

The Foundation is part of the Minnesota Telecom Alliance, a trade organization representing 86 telephone companies and cooperatives in the state.

Foundation for Rural Service Scholarship

Foundation for Rural ServicePaul Bunyan Communications participates in the Foundation for Rural Service (FRS) scholarship program which awards 30 $2,500 scholarships to high school seniors throughout the country each year.

Applications can also be downloaded from the FRS scholarship program page or the link below.

Completed applications should be sent directly to FRS, postmarked no later than March 1, 2018. Applications postmarked to FRS after this date will NOT be accepted.

Please note the applicant or their parent/legal guardian must be a member of Paul Bunyan Communications (PBC) Cooperative to apply through PBC and that a signature of a PBC employee is required to be considered eligible.

Established in 1994, FRS, in cooperation with the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA), seeks to sustain and enhance the quality of life throughout Rural America by advancing an understanding of rural telecommunications issues. In keeping with its mission, furthering the education of rural youth is one of the foundation's primary focuses. Our cooperative, Paul Bunyan Communications, is a member of NTCA and is proud to support FRS in this worthy endeavor.

Paul Bunyan CommunicationsPaul Bunyan Communications Returns Over $2.1 Million Member's Share in Cooperative's Success

Over $2.1 million has been returned to members of Paul Bunyan Communications, the cooperative has announced.

Paul Bunyan Communications is a not for profit company that strives to provide the highest quality service at the most affordable rates. As a cooperative, membership in Paul Bunyan Communications includes the opportunity to share in the financial success of the company. When profits are earned they are allocated to the members based on their proportional share of the allocable revenues. These allocations may then be returned to the individual members through capital credit retirements.

"The state of our cooperative is very strong with over 22,000 members throughout our 5,500 square mile service territory. We have been very busy building one of the largest all-fiber optic rural Gigabit networks in the country, the GigaZone, which is revolutionizing the way members live, work, and play. It is rewarding to see all those efforts continue to pay off and return these profits to our membership" said Gary Johnson, Paul Bunyan Communications CEO/General Manager.

"For over 60 years we have been providing the latest in technology at cost. There is no membership fee to join Paul Bunyan Communications and there are no annual membership dues. All you need to do is subscribe to either one line of local phone or Broadband Internet service and you become a member. You get the latest in technology backed up by our talented team of over 130 local employees that all live and work here" added Dave Schultz, Paul Bunyan Communications Chief Financial Officer.

"In a highly competitive industry with national competitors our cooperative has been successful because we put our region and our members first. We aren't worried about customers in Fargo, Denver, Minneapolis, or anywhere else. Our investments go here, back into our network, our services, and our communities." added Brian Bissonette, Paul Bunyan Communications Marketing Supervisor.

If you were a member of the cooperative in 2002 and/or 2016 and accrued more than $10 in total capital credit allocations, but do not receive a check by October 17, please contact Paul Bunyan Communications at (218) 444-1234 or (218) 999-1234.

Paul Bunyan CommunicationsPaul Bunyan Communications Will Not Sell Customer Web Browsing History

Recently new federal legislation was passed that allows Internet Service Providers to sell their customers' web browsing history. Paul Bunyan Communications wants to reassure its members that no matter what the law allows they do not collect and sell member's web browsing history.

"Our members' privacy is of the utmost importance to our member-owned and governed cooperative. We have never sold member web browsing history and have no plans to do so in the future regardless of what the rules and regulations may allow," said Gary Johnson, Paul Bunyan Communications CEO/General Manager.

"As you might imagine we are getting calls from concerned customers and members of our cooperative as the news of this new legislation spreads. We feel it is extremely important to reassure our customers that our cooperative will not sell their web browsing history. It's your cooperative and your data, period. Any provider who sells their customers' web browsing history without their consent is putting profits ahead of the trust of its customers and we believe that flies in the face of common decency, customer privacy, and certainly our cooperative values and principles," added Johnson.