News & Events
The 2nd annual GigaZone Gaming Championship, was held Friday, September 29 and Saturday, September 30 at the Sanford Center George W. Neilson Convention Center. The event featured free gaming on various console and arcade games, numerous tournaments, virtual reality, door prizes, and more.
This one of a kind regional gaming event showcases Paul Bunyan Communications’ IT and web development team which custom built and integrated much of the online technology and leverages the speed of the GigaZone one of the largest rural all-fiber optic Gigabit networks in the country. The entire event was run off a single residential GigaZone Internet connection.
Go Next from Duluth won the 2nd annual GigaZone Gaming Championship and $2,500 defeating the defending champion Pro Freakz from Deer River who won $1,250 for second place. The Iron Range Legends took third place for the second straight year and $750. A total of 22 of northern Minnesota’s best League of Legends teams competed online with the top four teams making it to the Championship rounds in the GigaZone Championship Arena.
In addition to the League of Legends Tournament, there was several other open tournaments include three Magic the Gathering Booster Drafts, Street Fighter V, Mario Kart 8, Overwatch 3v3, Madden 18, Super Smash Brothers, Ms. Pacman, and Galaga. Admission was free and there were a lot of door prizes given away including the grand prize of an Oculus Rift – the incredibly immersive virtual reality (VR) headset which was won by Anthony Belgarde of Grand Rapids.
“There is a large gaming community in our area and GigaZone Gaming Championship not only showcases some of the region’s best League of Legends teams but it gives everyone a chance to get in on the action! It was great to see this unique community event grow so much in its second year!” said Gary Johnson, Paul Bunyan Communications CEO/General Manager.
“It is a great chance for people experience the growing eSports phenomenon locally. This year was even bigger and better and we look forward to next year” added Brian Bissonette, Paul Bunyan Communications Marketing Supervisor.
The event is made possible by Paul Bunyan Communications and local, regional, and national partners including Pierced League Gaming of Grand Rapids, NLFX of Bemidji, Accidently Cool Games of Bemidji, Northern Amusement of Bemidji, the Sanford Center in Bemidji, ESPN, Fox Networks, Turner Networks, Viacom, and many more.
Over $2.1 million has been returned to members of Paul Bunyan Communications, the cooperative has announced.
Paul Bunyan Communications is a not for profit company that strives to provide the highest quality service at the most affordable rates. As a cooperative, membership in Paul Bunyan Communications includes the opportunity to share in the financial success of the company. When profits are earned they are allocated to the members based on their proportional share of the allocable revenues. These allocations may then be returned to the individual members through capital credit retirements.
"The state of our cooperative is very strong with over 22,000 members throughout our 5,500 square mile service territory. We have been very busy building one of the largest all-fiber optic rural Gigabit networks in the country, the GigaZone, which is revolutionizing the way members live, work, and play. It is rewarding to see all those efforts continue to pay off and return these profits to our membership" said Gary Johnson, Paul Bunyan Communications CEO/General Manager.
"For over 60 years we have been providing the latest in technology at cost. There is no membership fee to join Paul Bunyan Communications and there are no annual membership dues. All you need to do is subscribe to either one line of local phone or Broadband Internet service and you become a member. You get the latest in technology backed up by our talented team of over 130 local employees that all live and work here" added Dave Schultz, Paul Bunyan Communications Chief Financial Officer.
"In a highly competitive industry with national competitors our cooperative has been successful because we put our region and our members first. We aren't worried about customers in Fargo, Denver, Minneapolis, or anywhere else. Our investments go here, back into our network, our services, and our communities." added Brian Bissonette, Paul Bunyan Communications Marketing Supervisor.
If you were a member of the cooperative in 2002 and/or 2016 and accrued more than $10 in total capital credit allocations, but do not receive a check by October 17, please contact Paul Bunyan Communications at (218) 444-1234 or (218) 999-1234.
Service interruption of some individual channels will occur for approximately 10-15 minutes during the late afternoon hours through October 15 due to solar interference. During the interference, reception will range from minor sparkles to loss of reception or picture freezing.
Solar interference occurs each calendar year in both the spring and the fall.
What channels are affected and when will vary through October 15.
The new Olympic Channel has been added to PBTV Sports and PBTV Extra channel 63 and 563 (HD). Subscribers to either Extra or Sports (or both) will now have access to the network as part of their service.
The new TV network will offer fans year-round programming of Olympic Sports from around the world, highlighting their favorite American athletes and teams. Programming will emphasize live events from a broad portfolio of summer and winter Olympic Sports. It will also include Olympic-themed original content produced by all three parties, such as original programs produced by filmmakers from around the world commissioned by the global Olympic Channel; rich archival footage from the IOC and NBCU’s libraries of Olympic features and documentaries; and original Team USA programming produced by the USOC that provides authentic, wide-ranging and athlete-focused coverage of the Olympic Movement in the United States. Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA will be live streamed on OlympicChannel.com, the Olympic Channel app, NBCSports.com, and the NBC Sports app. Select replays and highlights will be available on these digital platforms as well as TeamUSA.org.
Paul Bunyan Communications has been awarded a national TeleChoice Award by the NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association during their Annual 2017 PR & Marketing Conference. The annual awards program honors excellence in public relations and marketing.
Paul Bunyan Communications was given the TeleChoice Award for their complete marketing campaign of the GigaZone Gaming Championship, the first stadium style eSporting event in the region held last November at the Sanford Center. Entries were judged on innovative strategies, design, writing, creativity and other elements specific to each category.
"We are honored to receive this national award for marketing. The GigaZone Gaming Championship was a first of its kind event we brought to the region last year aimed at gaming enthusiasts of all kinds. We spent a lot of time on the creative aspects of the campaign to ensure the message would resonate with the gaming community but also would appeal to the general public. It was a very successful event and one that will continue in the years to come. The 2017 GigaZone Gaming Championship is set for September 29-30 and will be even bigger and better than our first event last year!" said Brian Bissonette, Paul Bunyan Communications Marketing Supervisor.
"Congratulations to Paul Bunyan Communications on their 2017 TeleChoice Award" said NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield. "Creating their eSport event, the GigaZone Gaming Championship, and bringing it to customers in rural northern Minnesota is unique in the industry. It shows their commitment to their community and their willingness to be industry innovators and leaders, whether that's creating one of the largest rural all-fiber optic gigabit broadband network, or creating this wonderful gaming event. The marketing of the event was unique, creative and essential to its success. The award is well deserved and hard earned."
Paul Bunyan Communications Will Not Sell Customer Web Browsing History
Recently new federal legislation was passed that allows Internet Service Providers to sell their customers' web browsing history. Paul Bunyan Communications wants to reassure its members that no matter what the law allows they do not collect and sell member's web browsing history.
"Our members' privacy is of the utmost importance to our member-owned and governed cooperative. We have never sold member web browsing history and have no plans to do so in the future regardless of what the rules and regulations may allow," said Gary Johnson, Paul Bunyan Communications CEO/General Manager.
"As you might imagine we are getting calls from concerned customers and members of our cooperative as the news of this new legislation spreads. We feel it is extremely important to reassure our customers that our cooperative will not sell their web browsing history. It's your cooperative and your data, period. Any provider who sells their customers' web browsing history without their consent is putting profits ahead of the trust of its customers and we believe that flies in the face of common decency, customer privacy, and certainly our cooperative values and principles," added Johnson.