September 23, 2013 — WEST DES MOINES, IA — Under a joint program specifically designed to deliver business-scale broadband technologies to rural communities, several communities in Iowa are now a part of BroadNet connect’s new high-bandwidth fiber optic network. When all projects are complete, the selected cities and municipal services across Iowa will have access to broadband technology and other IT services that can ride over the high speed network.
The program began with a grant that was part of the Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to support the deployment of broadband infrastructure, enhance and expand data centers, encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service, and develop and maintain a nationwide public map of broadband service capability and availability. BroadNet connect (BNc), a communications and IT services subsidiary of UnityPoint Health, then partnered with community leaders to build an operating network that closes any “digital divide” between rural and urban communities.
“Originally, the goal was to bring on just a few customers,” said Rodney Brown, executive director of BroadNet connect. “However we were able to exceed that goal exponentially due to our ability to not only provide broadband access, but to provide other solutions like cloud services that can flow over our network. We’ve really taken the critical seed money and grown a larger network than we had hoped for in our most ambitious targets. We’re connecting communities to an extremely robust backbone. The services these communities can now have access to, and the businesses they can attract, are unlimited.”
“What this ultimately means,” said James A. Erb, Mayor of Charles City, “is that our community can attract and support business operations with high bandwidth demands. Everything you can do in a skyscraper you can now do on our main street – big data, heavy communications, telemedicine, and so on. If your business has a communications demand, we can meet it.”
“City services will benefit tremendously,” said Rod Bradley, Denison Chief of Police, “and not merely emergency services. Yes, police and fire will have a much faster and reliable communications infrastructure, but everyone from our city clerk to the utility offices will be able to perform more efficiently and give greater value to the community.”
Don Schwenker, Mayor of Maquoketa said, “Because so much of it is underground and out of sight, it doesn’t look like a skyscraper or an airport, but the economic impact of this project could be just as significant, or even more so. Our ability to seize opportunities has just expanded. Our future lies on a bedrock of high-quality communications. Now we have that.”
BroadNet connect was established in 2010 as a fiber optic communications and IT services provider for business and city services. It is the sister company of HealthNet connect – a health care – specific provider of medical communications and IT services. Both are subsidiaries of UnityPoint Health.