I wrote about the big announcement from DEED’s Telecommuter Forward Program last week, but it’s always fun to see local communities get local recognition for their efforts. The Bemidji Pioneer reports…
Beltrami County was congratulated as a telecommuter-friendly community earlier this month by Gov. Tim Walz.
According to a release, these types of communities are labeled as those that coordinate and partner with broadband providers, realtors, economic development professionals, employers, employees and other stakeholders to promote the availability of telecommuting options in their region. In total, 23 communities were recognized, with Beltrami County and Cook County, as well as the cities of Bigfork, Halstad and Warren being the only northern areas listed.
And the local perspective…
Locally, Beltrami County is served by the Bemidji headquartered Paul Bunyan Communications, as well as the Sioux Falls-based provider Midco. Additionally, some of the county is served by Garden Valley Technologies.
Last year, Beltrami County was shown to be No. 1 out of 87 counties when it came to broadband internet access, with 98.78% having access to speeds of up to a gigabit per second. During the stay-at-home order from Walz, the access was essential as Midco and Paul Bunyan Communications saw traffic increase by at least 30% during daytime hours.
Currently, government units and educational institutions are still relying on telecommunications. Since March, all of the Bemidji City Council and several of the Beltrami County board meetings have been held digitally. Additionally, this semester, just 13% of BSU classes will be held in person, with the rest being online or hy-flex courses. Northwest Technical College, meanwhile, will have 35% of its classes in person.