Paul Bunyan Communications to expand services in Koochiching, St. Louis Counties with grant assistance

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Paul Bunyan Communications

BEMIDJI -- Paul Bunyan Communications is planning to expand its fiber optic services north and east with help from a state grant.

The cooperative will begin the expansion in late 2020, with the project running through 2021. The project going into Koochiching and St. Louis Counties, was made possible through a grant from the state's Border to Border Broadband program, a release said.

The $5.68 million fiber optic project will extend services to at least 1,100 locations in both counties. The grant is covering $2.35 million, the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board is contributing $802,700 and the cooperative is investing $2.5 million. Additionally, Koochiching County is providing $26,000 and Morcom Township will contribute $10,000.

Paul Bunyan Communications expects to develop project plans this year and will contact locations along the expansion routes later this fall or spring 2021. The project is set to be completed by June 30, 2022, the release said.

"This project will have an incredible impact on people's lives," Steve Howard, Paul Bunyan Communications Information Technology and Development manager said in the release. "Employees will be able to work from home. Students will have access to educational resources and seniors will be able to stay in their homes longer with telemedicine."


"We are excited to continue our expansion efforts to provide access to broadband internet speeds to those without it in our region," Gary Johnson, Paul Bunyan Communications CEO and general manager said in the release. "Our cooperative has a long history of expanding our network to understand areas but it has become increasingly challenging to go it alone without grant support. These areas will not only get broadband access, they will go from slow satellite or dial up internet to speeds of up to a Gigabit per second and become part of one of the largest rural Gigabit networks in the country."

To see how the project may impact your area, visit

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