Big Changes Coming to North-Central Minnesota

ST. PAUL, MINN. – Beginning sometime early next year, blazing-fast internet service will arrive in Bemidji, Walker, Grand Rapids and the encompassing 5,000 square mile region. For years, large sections of northern Minnesota simply had no access or inadequate access to high-speed internet, until now. Paul Bunyan Communications, a rural cooperative, is to thank for laying the foundation for a $150 million, 1-gigabit fiber optic network which has been dubbed the GigaZone. Sen. Tom Saxhaug (DFL-Grand Rapids) represents a large majority of residents who will benefit from the new network and says the high-speed internet will do wonders for the region.

“This new high-speed internet is about so much more than just improving our experience browsing the web. It will make our region more viable, allow our businesses to grow and help our cities recruit new workers – all of which adds up to a stronger economy,” said Sen. Saxhaug.

He adds the service — which is estimated to be 100 times faster than the average – will provide yet another reason for people to visit and move to Northern Minnesota.

“This fiber-optic network complements other actions taken by the Minnesota Legislature to improve opportunities in Minnesota. This fall we implemented all-day Kindergarten across the state and increased our investments in transportation. We know these additions to our schools and infrastructure help make our way of life in Greater Minnesota that much better. My hat is off to Paul Bunyan Communications for building this line,” said Saxhaug.

Saxhaug’s praise has been joined by Governor Dayton and Sen. Amy Klobuchar who both called the line a “game changer” and talked about how it will greatly help in boosting rural economies. A company spokesperson said the service will start to become available early next year and will expand over the next few years.

If you have questions for Sen. Saxhaug, you can email him at or call his office at (651) 296-4136.

Senator Tom Saxhaug
Tom Saxhaug represents District 5, which includes portions of Beltrami, Cass, Hubbard, and Itasca counties in the northern part of the state. He is a retired insurance agent. Sen. Saxhaug chairs the State Departments and Veterans Budget Division.

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