NTCA Smart Rural Communities

When we stumbled into the rural broadband industry a few years ago, we never could have guessed that this industry would become such a huge part of our lives. Through our work with the member organizations that form the Broadband Association of North Dakota, we’ve seen first-hand the impact that high-speed Internet has on the lives of rural North Dakotans. Now, with NTCA (The Rural Broadband Association), we’re able to see that impact on a national scale.

NTCA enlisted Team Tellwell to create a series of videos and blogs highlighting Smart Rural Communities, where providers lead and collaborate on broadband-enabled projects that improve economic development, provide technology for advancing education, and enhance state-of-the-art health care through telemedicine. 

A man in a chair wearing a film crew shirt.

The Process

The goal of these stories was to educate viewers on the importance of Smart Rural Communities and share how rural providers impact the customers they serve. NTCA selected two providers, Paul Bunyan Communications in Bemidji, Minnesota, and Sacred Wind Communications in Ya-Ta-Hey, New Mexico, to highlight for this project. For each provider, we created a full-length brand impact film, a 30-second spot, a blog, and social writing.

While both of these providers are working to expand broadband access in their rural communities, their stories could not be more unique.

Sacred Wind Commnications

98 percent of Sacred Wind Communications‘ customers belong to the Navajo Nation, an area with one of the highest rates of poverty in the country. From laying the first high-speed fiber in the area to providing solar-powered broadband, Sacred Wind is connecting the Navajo Nation to the world.

The Navajo people tend to be very private, so we worked Sacred Wind Communications to ensure our portrayal of their customers was as respectful as possible. One of their Service Providers, Sandra, acted as a guide for our film as we traveled through New Mexico.

Paul Bunyan Communications

Only 6% of practicing OB/GYNs in the United States practice in rural areas, which account for 23% of women aged 18 and up. With high-speed broadband from Paul Bunyan Communications, Dr. Johnna Nynas and her team at Sanford Health in Bemidji are providing safe, reliable telehealth services for women in one of the most rural areas of Minnesota. 

Due to the ongoing pandemic, we knew that showing the full impact of Paul Bunyan’s work on a healthcare organization like Sanford was going to be a challenge. We worked with Dr. Nynas and Paul Bunyan CEO Gary Johnson to identify safe places to capture interviews and b-roll, and given the resources we had, we were able to tell a great story and show off their partnership in a meaningful way.

Broadcast Spots

An important goal for both Paul Bunyon and Sacred Wind was having the ability to tell their story with a 30-second broadcast spot. We supported these efforts, and unveiled the videos below.

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