He learned about rural telcos and the need for broadband Internet to reach every home in rural Minnesota. He also learned about Paul Bunyan Telephone’s leading-edge push to bring broadband to remote areas, including Ash River at Lake Kabetogama.
After learning more about Paul Bunyan’s recent upgrade (last year they extended fiber optic to homeowners’ premises – including to areas such as Big Fork, Little Fork and International Falls), Emmer commented…
“Japan is touted as having the greatest telecommunications network in the world? They don’t, we do,” Emmer said, referring to comments by Randy Young of the Minnesota Telecom Alliance that Japan is totally wired in the cities, but has yet to bring broadband to rural Japan.
“It’s amazing when you look at this (service) map and see what this company has done,” Emmer added. “When I saw how they just expanded to 100 customers in Ash River, one of the most remote locations in northeastern Minnesota, it gets amazing. And these guys are always taking a chance.
“This is one place where government is important,” he said, “to make sure that the little guys can compete; make sure that the little guys can provide the competition for service that is necessary. Bemidji may not be where it is today if it hadn’t been as far as communications if Paul Bunyan had not been here.”
(My goal is to highlight every time I see broadband mentioned in a Minnesota context – so whenever I see a candidate, any candidate, mention broadband I’ll highlight it. If your favorite candidate mentions it and I miss it, please send the mention my way.)