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Minnesota Lt. Governor Tina Smith Visits Paul Bunyan Communications

Minnesota Lt. Governor Tina Smith speaking to Paul Bunyan Communications staff.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 (left) and Paul Bunyan Communications CEO Gary Johnson (right)"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.

The Weather Channel and TV LandWeather Channel and TV Land added PBTV Everywhere; Over 100 networks available online

The Weather Channel and TV Land are now a part of PBTV Everywhere! There are now over 100 networks accessible on the go at no extra charge to your PBTV service.

PBTV customers can watch programs on their computer, smart phone, gaming systems, or tablet with PBTV Everywhere. It's free and all you need is Internet access.

PBTV customers have access to view PBTV Everywhere content from the networks they receive as part of their regular PBTV service.

The Foundation for Rural ServiceHigh School Juniors: Enter the Paul Bunyan Communications Youth Tour Essay Contest for a Chance to Win a Trip to Washington D.C. Deadline is Friday, March 18.

Area High School Juniors are encouraged to enter the Paul Bunyan Communications Essay Contest for a chance to attend the 2016 Youth Tour in Washington, D.C. June 4-8, 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 a junior 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 18.

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.

2015 The Foundation for Rural Service Youth Tour

"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 20th consecutive year that Paul Bunyan Communications has participated in sending a local high school junior to the Youth Tour.

Discovery LifeDiscovery Life has been moved to PBTV Extra

Discovery Life, formerly Discovery Fit and Health, has been moved to PBTV Extra (from PBTV Sports). Discovery Life can be found on PBTV channel 62 and is now a network with true stories of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. These stories are unusual, touching, humorous and life-changing.

PBTV Extra is a package of over 40 additional cable networks covering a wide variety of genres including sports, news, music, and entertainment that can be added to PBTV main service for only $9.99 per month.

Pick It Bowl Challenge Winners of the Paul Bunyan Communications Pick It Bowl Challenge

Paul Bunyan Communications is excited to announce the winners of the Pick-it Bowl Challenge, a free online contest for participants to pick the winners for the 2015-2016 College Bowl games for a chance to win a credit on a Paul Bunyan Communications account.

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

3rd Place - $100 credit	Angie Broberg, Grand Rapids2nd Place - $250 credit	Eric Christensen, Grand Rapids1st Place - $500 credit	Keith Bartholomaus, Laporte
  • 1st Place - $500 credit Keith Bartholomaus, Laporte
  • 2nd Place - $250 credit Eric Christensen, Grand Rapids
  • 3rd Place - $100 credit Angie Broberg, Grand Rapids
  • 4th Place - $50 credit Paul Schultz, Bemidji
  • 5th Place - $25 credit Paul Nelson, Bemidji
  • 6th - 10th place - $10 credit (in order of finish)
    Rebecca Krienke, Mizpah
    Mark Johnson, Blackduck
    David Anderson, Park Rapids
    Rodger Brown
    Cheyanne May, Redby

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

Nat Geo WildNat Geo Wild Added to PBTV Extra; Nat Geo Wild HD Added to PBTV HD; Velocity HD Moved to Channel 693

Paul Bunyan Communications has added Nat Geo Wild to PBTV Extra and also Nat Geo Hild HD to PBTV HD service.

Nat Geo WILD is the only network on television 100% dedicated to animals and the people who love them. Nat Geo WILD features passionate and popular experts Cesar Millan and Dr. Pol along with other family friendly programming.

Nat Geo Wild is on channel 189 and is available to all PBTV subscribers who also subscribe to PBTV Extra.

Nat Geo Wild is on channel 689 and is available to all PBTV HD subscribers who also subscribe to PBTV Extra. There is a one month minimum subscription required.

As result of adding Nat Geo Wild HD to the PBTV HD lineup, Velocity HD has been moved from to channel 693 (from channel 689).

Antenna-TVAntenna-TV Added for PBTV Customers in Itasca and Koochiching County

Antenna TV has been added to the Paul Bunyan Television (PBTV) service offering for all subscribers in Itasca and Koochiching County.

Antenna TV can be found on PBTV channel 44 and is a KQDS-Fox network out of Duluth. The network features classic television programs and favorite movies.

PBTV subscribers in Beltrami, Hubbard, and Cass County receive Antenna TV out of Minneapolis also on channel 44.

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, 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, 2016.

 

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, 2016.



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 2015 can be downloaded from the MTA scholarship page or from the link below and must be turned in to Paul Bunyan Communications no later than March 1, 2016.

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, 2016. 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.

GigaZone: Gigabit Fiber Network from Paul Bunyan CommunicationLong Wait Over: 400+ More Locations in Rural Park Rapids Gain Access to Broadband

Cooperative Expansion Project that started in 2012 completed

The long wait for access to high speed Internet and cable television services has finally come to an end for hundreds of more locations in rural Park Rapids. Paul Bunyan Communications announced today that expansion of its all-fiber optic network is complete in the last region of rural Park Rapids constructed in 2015 bringing access to broadband and cable TV services to over 400 more locations. The area impacted is east of Park Rapids that includes the following lakes: Sunday, Little Stony, 4th Crow Wing, Island, 3rd Crow Wing, 2nd Crow Wing, Palmer, and most of 1st Crow Wing.

GigaZone: Gigabit Fiber Network from Paul Bunyan CommunicationThe cooperative started expansion of its all fiber optic network into rural Park Rapids in 2012 and Paul Bunyan Communications now offers all of its services to over 3,500 locations in the region which includes Gigabit Broadband Internet, Paul Bunyan Television, and voice services. While this marks the completion of the original rural Park Rapids fiber project, the cooperative continues to look for additional future opportunities to deliver its advanced gigabit Internet and other services in and around the Park Rapids area.

"Access to broadband Internet services enhances life in so many different ways. It opens up e-commerce opportunities, educational, cultural, and recreational resources. It is especially important in rural areas where it can help overcome distance and financial barriers," said Gary Johnson, CEO/GM of Paul Bunyan Communications, "We've seen the difference it can make first hand throughout our service territory and we are proud to bring Broadband access to thousands of locations in the Park Rapids area the past three years."

"Ironically these new areas of our cooperative have gone from having no Broadband access to having access to the fastest Internet speeds available today as part of the GigaZone. There are very few parts of the country like the Park Rapids area where Gigabit Internet services are available. It's pretty amazing that areas like Little Stony and Sunday Lake have Gigabit Internet access before New York City or Washington D.C.," added Brian Bissonette, Paul Bunyan Communications Marketing Supervisor.

"While this is the end of our major expansion project in the rural Park Rapids area, our efforts to bring Broadband to the region that started back in 1999 will continue. Unfortunately there are still many areas adjacent to where our cooperative serves that do not have quality Broadband access from their current providers. It's too bad, all of our service areas have had access to Broadband since 2004, yet almost 12 years later there are still a lot of rural areas and even some urban areas being neglected by the large regional service providers without access to even the most basic of high speed Internet services. We will continue to do what we can to bring Broadband access to more areas in 2016 and beyond," added Bissonette.

GigaZone service options include unprecedented Broadband Internet speeds of up to 1000 Mbps – a Gigabit. Members who subscribe to GigaZone Broadband can also add PBTV Fusion and/or low cost unlimited local and long distance GigaZone voice service. All non-GigaZone service options remain available to cooperative members as well.

Most current wireless routers cannot support blazing GigaZone Internet speeds. To help, the cooperative is offering GigaZone Integrated Wi-Fi that uses the latest in advanced Wi-Fi technologies to maximize the in-home wireless experience. This service is free to all new GigaZone customers for the first six months, with a minimal charge thereafter.

Minnesota DEEDPaul Bunyan Communications awarded State of Minnesota Border to Border Broadband Grant for portions of Central Itasca County

Cooperative will bring Broadband network to over 1,250 locations

GigaZone: Gigabit Fiber Network from Paul Bunyan CommunicationPaul 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 central Itasca County in partnership with the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) and Itasca County.

As a result, the cooperative will begin expansion construction next spring that will pass over 1,250 locations in portions of Balsam Township, Lawrence Township, Nashwauk Township, and the city of Taconite. Final expansion plans that will determine the locations to be passed are expected by early spring.

Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB)"This is very exciting news for so many people who are currently without access to broadband in central Itasca County and it is a truly collaborative effort that makes it possible. Our cooperative has a long history of expanding our network to underserved areas but it has become increasingly challenging to go it alone without grant support. The support offered by both IRRRB and Itasca County has been phenomenal.Additionally, the Itasca Economic Development Corporation wasinstrumental in building community support and providing guidancethrough the grant application process. The irony is these areas will not only get Broadband access, they'll go from no real access to becoming a part of one of the largest rural Gigabit networks in the country. Many will go from satellite and dial up to speeds of up to a Gigabit per second," said Gary Johnson, Paul Bunyan Communications CEO/General Manager.

Itasca Economic Development CorporationPaul Bunyan Communications expects to finalize the expansion plans by early spring and will contact all locations along the expansion route shortly thereafter. Construction will start in the early summer and will be completed by June 30, 2017. While the general area of the expansion is determined, the specific locations that it will pass will depend upon the final network design. Those in the region interested on keeping up to date on the project can look for updates on the Paul Bunyan website or join the Paul Bunyan Communications Central Itasca Fiber Project Group on Facebook.

"I am really excited about this project and the positive impact it will have on people's lives. Students will have access to educational resources, employees will be able to work from home, seniors will be able to stay in their homes longer with telemedicine, and a rural medical clinic will finally get the connectivity it has needed for years." added Steve Howard, Paul Bunyan Communications Information Technology and Development Manager.

"In addition to the local partnerships we've formed that makes this a reality, no project would have gotten off the ground if it wasn't for the hard work of our elected officials who 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 is going to make a world of difference in so many ways to a lot of people in central Itasca County!" said Johnson.

GigaZone: Gigabit Fiber Network from Paul Bunyan CommunicationAll 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 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.