Citizen Engagement Survey

The Koochiching Technology Initiative is conducting a brief survey to assess the extent of community engagement on social media and other digital platforms.  This effort will guide our exploration of options to improve communication throughout our county and make recommendations to governments and organizations. We want to assure you that your responses are anonymous, strictly confidential and not linked to any of your personal information. Only aggregated results will be shared. There are no physical, psychological, social, or other expected risks to participating in this study. Your involvement in completing the survey is voluntary. Please take the survey online using the links below and encourage five friends of colleagues to… Read More

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Areas of Koochiching County to Receive High-Speed Internet

Some Koochiching County homes and businesses are closer to getting high-speed internet thanks to a $2,562,916 grant recently announced by the State of Minnesota Office of Broadband Development. The Paul Bunyan Communications – North Central Minnesota Fiber Project will upgrade approximately 914 unserved and 439 under-served locations in parts of the Leech Lake Indian Reservation and rural portions of Cass, Itasca, Koochiching and St. Louis counties. “Service is expected to be available in all of these areas by the spring of 2022” says Steve Howard, Paul Bunyan Information Technology and Development Manager. In a funding partnership with the State of Minnesota, Minnesota Iron Range Resource & Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB), Koochiching… Read More

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KTI Allocates Funding for 12 New Community Technology Projects

Blandin Foundation Grants Totaling $75,000 Given to Kooch County Groups in Past Year Koochiching Technology Initiative (KTI) recently completed allocation of $75,000 in grants for local technology-related projects through the Blandin Broadband Community (BBC) program, funded by the Blandin Foundation. The group allocated almost $25,000 to 6 projects in May, 2019, and the remainder to 12 grantees in December. “Since its inception, KTI has had two goals: getting broadband internet to all of Koochiching County and allocating the grant funding we received as a Blandin Broadband Community,” says Ted Saxton, KTI steering committee member. “While we have made great progress on the first goal, I am particularly proud of our… Read More

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Koochiching County Establishes Benchmark with Intelligent Community Report

Results Will Help County Track Progress Koochiching Technology Initiative (KTI) recently received a report outlining the county’s performance in key areas that determine competitiveness and quality of life in today’s digital economy. Developed by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF), a global organization that helps communities effectively adapt to the demands of the broadband economy, the report compares Koochiching County to other communities large and small in urban, suburban and rural areas. “Our main goal in working on the ICF evaluation was to establish a benchmark,” says KTI steering committee member Jim Yount. “We are laying the groundwork for substantial improvements for our community as a whole.” Communities are scored on… Read More

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Kooch County Intelligent Community Report

Koochiching Technology Initiative (KTI) recently received a report outlining the county’s performance in six key areas that determine competitiveness in today’s digital economy. Developed by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF), a global organization that helps communities effectively adapt to the demands of the broadband economy, the report compares Kooch County to other communities large and small in urban, suburban and rural areas. Click below to read the full report. ICF Snapshot Report Dec 2019 Koochiching Cty MN

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Past Projects Funded by KTI and BBC

Koochiching Technology Initiative (KTI) is accepting grant applications for digital technology projects until December 13. This is the second round of funding that encourages community vitality by addressing the six Intelligent Community pillars of: Broadband; Knowledge Workforce; Innovation; Digital Equality; Sustainability; and Advocacy. Funding is provided by the Blandin Foundation through their Blandin Broadband Community (BBC) program. The BBC program favors requests around $5,000 or less, with a limit of $25,000. The group’s steering committee is available to help project leaders bring their ideas to fruition by facilitating a strong application for BBC and other funding sources. Past projects which have already received KTI/BBC funding include: Public wifi in Smokey… Read More

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Informational Meetings Nov. 26

We’re looking for great ideas for using technology to make our community an even better place! EVERYONE is welcome to an informational meeting to find out more about applying for a grant through KTI in partnership with the Blandin Foundation. KTI members will be on-hand to answer questions and help develop ideas. Tuesday, November 26 at Noon and 6 p.m. Ballan’s i-Space 4th Street, Int’l Falls Click here for application information.

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PBS Almanac Highlights Kooch County

Click the link below to view the PBS Almanac news story featuring Koochiching County as an example of the need for broadband in rural Minnesota. Includes interviews and information regarding: Tom Dougherty of Rainy Lake Houseboats Thunderbird Lodge Joe Mershon, Koochiching Technology Initiative Frontier Communications Paul Bunyan Communications DEED border-to-border grants PBS Almanac “Broadband Struggles in Northern Minnesota” (5m 52s)  

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Paul Bunyan Communications Applies for Grant Funding

August 26, 2019, International Falls, MN – Efforts to get high-speed internet in some Koochiching County homes and businesses received a boost this week when Paul Bunyan Communications announced it’s applying for grant funding through the Border-to-Border Broadband program. If funded, the company could offer services to more than 1,200 locations in Kabetogama, Pelland Junction, Ericsburg and Ray. Since funders take local support into consideration when approving awards, residents are encouraged to send letters of support. “Our goal is to maximize the points the application receives for community interest,” says Steve Howard, Paul Bunyan Information Technology and Development Manager. Letters of Support Needed By September 9 According to Howard, letters… Read More

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Sample: Letter of Support

Paul Bunyan Communications Attn:  Steve Howard, 1831 Anne St NW, Bemidji, MN  56601 email: showard@paulbunyan.net DATE To Whom it May Concern, I’m writing to express my support for the Paul Bunyan Communications grant application that would make it possible to offer broadband services in my area. My husband/wife/family and I live in ______________, in Koochiching County. While we love living here, lack of strong, reliable internet hampers our quality of life. We can’t do many of the things people in other areas may take for granted: checking email, sharing pictures with family, connecting through social media and much more. High speed internet would also make work-from-home opportunities possible in our area,… Read More

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