BEMIDJI -- PC Magazine has ranked Bemidji as the eighth best city in the United States to work from home.
The article selected the top 50 U.S. cities, as well as 10 Canadian cities. The list was determined by gigabit fiber broadband availability, affordable housing and communities that allow remote work friendly lifestyles.
This isn't the first time the area has been recognized for its ability to provide remote working capabilities. In 2019, Beltrami County was rated No. 1 out of Minnesota's 87 counties for having the most access to internet speeds of up to a gigabit per second.
Then, in August 2020, Beltrami County was declared a telecommuter-friendly community by Gov. Tim Walz for its coordination between broadband providers, realtors, economic development professionals, employers and employees.
Locally, one of the main internet providers in Bemidji is Paul Bunyan Communications, which operates in Beltrami, Cass, Hubbard, Itasca, Koochiching and St. Louis Counties. In a press release, Gary Johnson, Paul Bunyan Communications CEO and general manager, called PC Magazine's ranking "fantastic."
"The all-fiber optic network we've built throughout the region with gigabit upload and download speeds makes it possible to effectively and efficiently work from home," Johnson said.
"It is rewarding to see our region be recognized nationally," said Steve Howard, Paul Bunyan Communications Information Technology and Development manager. "The investments we have made in building out an all-fiber optic communications network will serve this region for decades to come. In turn, this supports successful economic development and growth."
The ranking by PC Magazine comes a few weeks after Greater Bemidji Economic Development launched its 218 Relocate program. The initiative was launched to invite people who work digitally to relocate to the area, offering incentives to encourage workers to do so.
Along with Bemidji, another Minnesota city listed was Brooklyn Park. The only surrounding state with a city listed was Wisconsin, with the community of Reedsburg ranked.