Better broadband comes to Side Lake (St Louis County)

The Hibbing Daily Tribune reports on better broadband happening in St Louis County with the help of Paul Bunyan and MN State Broadband Grants…

“Side Lake area residents are on track to have their homes and cabins wired with fiber optic cable starting this summer, thanks to a 2017 grant that Paul Bunyan Communications received from the state of Minnesota.

“The Border to Border Grant Program is provided by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to promote broadband internet to underserved or unserved areas in the state,” said Steve Howard, Paul Bunyan Communications’ Information Technology and Development Manager.

Two years ago, Paul Bunyan Communications (PBC) was awarded $802,620 to deliver broadband services to areas near the communities of Park Rapids, Bigfork and Side Lake, in Hubbard, Itasca and St. Louis counties. According to the state Office of Broadband Development’s website, “this project will improve the economic vitality of the region and bring advanced technology to areas that would likely not see state-of-the-art services without opportunities such as the Border to Border Broadband Grant.” The total eligible cost of the project is about $1.78 million.

What does all that mean for local residents?

Lightning fast broadband services lakeside.
During a recent interview, Howard pulled up a service map of the Side Lake area and provided more detail. The map uses red lines to highlight the properties around Big Sturgeon, West Sturgeon, Little Sturgeon and South Sturgeon, as the “2019 Construction Grant Area.” Another area of land to the east of the construction surrounding Side and Pickerel lakes is highlighted in green and has been designated “Possible 2019 construction, pending pre-orders.”

Howard explained, “At the time the area in red was considered unserved, while the area in green was considered served by CenturyLink. The grant will pay for 45 percent of the installation fees for the area in the red, with Paul Bunyan paying the remainder 55 percent. The area in green would be 100 percent funded by Paul Bunyan.”

PBC is encouraging property owners in both zones who are interested in bringing these services to their residences to call and get signed up early. He stressed that property owners in the green zone who are interested in installation should call and get put on the list for consideration by June 18. “We’ll look at that area in late June and see if there’s enough interest to make it a go,” Howard said.

This entry was posted in Funding, MN, MN Broadband Fund Awards, Vendors by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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