BEMIDJI -- The cooperative Paul Bunyan Communications is distributing a capital credit return to its members.

According to a release, Paul Bunyan Communications is providing more than $3.5 million back to cooperative members this month. When profits are earned by the cooperative, they are allocated to the members based on their proportional share of the allocable revenues.

The release states that current members with a distribution of $100 or less had credits applied to their bills. For those with a distribution of more than $100, checks are being mailed.

"It's been a very challenging year for everyone and it has been amazing to see our region come together in the face of all the challenges of the pandemic," said Gary Johnson, Paul Bunyan Communications CEO and general manager. "Our cooperative has continued working hard behind the scenes to get those without internet connected and support our communities. We wanted to help our membership again this year by returning their share of our success now rather than in the fall as we normally do."

Paul Bunyan Communications operates a 5,500 square-mile fiber-optic network. It covers most of Beltrami County, as well as portions of Cass, Hubbard, Itasca, Koochiching and St. Louis Counties.

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"In a highly competitive industry with national competitors, our cooperative has been successful because we put our region and our members first," said Brian Bissonette, Paul Bunyan Communications marketing supervisor. "We don't have to worry about customers all over the place like in Sioux Falls, Fargo, Minneapolis or anywhere else. Our investments go here, back into our network, our services and our communities."