Survey to spur high speed internet across Iron Range

PHOTO: Paul Bunyan Communications

I have fiber optic internet service direct to my home in rural Itasca County. Why? Enough of my neighbors filled out a survey and kept pressure on local leaders to get our area added to broadband expansion projects by Paul Bunyan Communication.

Residents of the east central Iron Range will now have the same opportunity. By filling out a survey those residents can make their desire to receive and pay for quality internet service known to local leaders and private internet providers.

Today, the Mesabi Daily News reports on the Iron Range Broadband Communities survey being conducted by the Northeast Minnesota Small Business Development Center.

Iron Range Broadband Communities represents the efforts of several Iron Range cities and school districts to attract new broadband coverage to the Mesabi region.

I’ve long argued that expanding high speed internet into rural areas near Iron Range towns is a critical part of a regional economic diversification plan. Doing so will attracting young professionals to the area and aid entrepreneurs. It’s also a way to improve educational access for K-12 and college students who live in rural areas.

As such, filling out this survey isn’t just something that could get internet lines expanded to *your* house, but something that could bring or keep young people to the area or attract the next big employer to the Iron Range.

So, fill it out!

You can also fill out paper versions of the survey at the Hibbing, Chisholm, Buhl, Kinney or Mountain Iron public libraries, or the Cherry Township Hall. The deadline is Aug. 31.

These survey results will be used to apply for Blandin Foundation and Minnesota Border-to-Border Broadband Grant funding, which will provide incentives for internet providers to expand into new territories.



  1. Thanks for sharing this survey info! Just after I read this article, I checked out Side Lake’s community web page ( and they have the internet survey posted there too. So my wife and I completed the survey in hopes that this will spur the installation of high-speed in the Side Lake area, or at least to have said internet installed before we permanently move to the area in the few years after I retire from the military. Our family plans to use high-speed internet to either start a home business or even do a telecommuting work-from-home program. I’m fully supportive of the idea of getting good internet to the deep woods of the Iron Range. Along the same thought I know of several friends, who are not from Minnesota, but have visited the nature of the Iron Range and loved it. But they said they would love to move there, but won’t because they run internet businesses. They need high-speed internet in the woods so they can conduct their business transactions. I agree that having high-speed internet in the rural areas will have spur more economy development (and diversity) for the Iron Range!

  2. One thing I didn’t like about the survey was that their pricing for products, specifically cable, was not really correct which could sway some answers. If you just do a cable modem through Mediacom, after the first year it is $80+ a month for a boosted 60 meg connection.

    I know surveys have to be kept simple, but I also didn’t like the question about which plan you would prefer from either the phone or cable company. From my experience, neither one does residents any favors by trying to get us the best connections at reasonable prices.

  3. Disappointed says

    Guess you were in the wrong room.

  4. My service is Verizon. Great service for my phone, but limited (15 gig / month) for anything tethered. It’s an option where available.

    The survey acted funny at the end, no confirmation that it was accepted.

  5. Paul Bunyan works GREAT and they did an awesome job on the install. Wifi very fast and we are most pleased. We are north of nashwauk. You will not be sorry.

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