Intelligent Fiber Network (IFN), a leader among Indiana’s commercial fiber broadband providers, today announces that it has raised nearly $13 million in equity investment funding from its existing independent local exchange company owners and one new owner: Wabash Valley Power (WVPA). This funding helps position IFN to continue expanding and deepening its high-speed fiber network – giving the company access to new customers and extending fiber to new areas – while also making investments in network upgrades to ensure reliability, stability and scalability for the future.
The capital raise includes an investment from WVPA, which now becomes a member-owner of IFN, reflecting a decision and commitment by both companies to have telecommunications and electric companies work together to help address rural broadband connectivity.
“IFN actively looks for ways to partner with different entities and organizations to improve the level of broadband connectivity across the state,” said IFN President and CEO Jim Turner. “Partnering with Wabash Valley Power makes great sense – they were already our customer, and now we have the opportunity to significantly expand that relationship. With WVPA’s investment, as well as the funds contributed by our other member-owners, we can bring IFN’s middle-mile doorway to the rural partners’ doorstep.”
This is IFN’s third fund raise series since it began operation in 2002. The nearly $13 million investment is its largest raise yet. The infusion of investments and partnership with WVPA helps push IFN’s middle mile further into under- and un-served areas, increasing the footprint IFN can connect. Investment dollars will also be used for critical network upgrades to IFN’s growing network, making the way for enhanced connectivity for Hoosier businesses through an increased network bandwidth.
The partnership comes at a crucial time in the utility industry, as technical challenges with an ever-smartening electrical grid require advanced communications solutions. Enhanced connectivity in support of a smart grid goes hand-in-glove with cyber security, something on which WVPA and IFN place a premium.
“The digitization of electricity networks through fiber-optic connection is an essential means of providing stable, cost effective power. As such, the connected grid presents unique communications challenges to maintain the highest level of cyber security,” said Jay Bartlett, President and CEO of Wabash Valley Power. “Partnering with IFN provides us an opportunity to simultaneously connect and secure a complex electrical generation and transmission network. We’re thrilled by the opportunity to deepen our relationship with IFN.”
WVPA’s investment will allow its member organizations to work with IFN in monetizing their own local fiber deployment and provides IFN with a gateway to multi-state expansion. The two organizations already have teams working together to further explore how they can create value for IFN’s member-owners in the telecom industry and WVPA’s membership.
In addition to WVPA, the following member-owners of IFN also contributed capital to this raise: Heartland Innovations, Inc. (Ligonier, IN), Rochester Telephone Company (Rochester, IN), LightStream (Buffalo, IN), Monon Telephone Company (Monon, IN), Citizens Telephone Corporation (Warren, IN), NineStar Connect (Greenfield, IN), and Enhanced Telecommunications (Sunman, IN).
In 2018, IFN announced a plan to invest up to $100 million over the next five years in Indiana, as well as a multi-year, multi-million-dollar network upgrade across the state. The upgrades and investments increase capacity, improve stability, and add operational and network efficiency; all of which are geared toward enhancing customers’ service experience. The second phase of this upgrade project began in the first quarter of 2019.
About Intelligent Fiber Network
In addition to Wabash Valley Power’s new ownership interest, Intelligent Fiber Network (IFN) is owned by 20 Indiana local exchange telephone companies who offer state of the art facilities in the communities they serve. IFN provides high-speed fiber-optic backbone capabilities to these owners as well as to other telecommunications providers and business direct customers including hospitals, schools and government facilities. IFN’s network consists of more than 4,500 route miles of fiber-optic line across more than 60 Indiana counties. IFN offers commercial service in Indiana and throughout the US via a network of national partners. For more information, visit intelligentfiber.com or call (866) 406-4636.
About Wabash Valley Power
Founded in 1963, Wabash Valley Power is an Indianapolis-based, A rated, not-for-profit generation and transmission cooperative. With over $1.1 billion in assets, Wabash Valley Power provides wholesale electricity to 23 distribution cooperatives serving 311,000 businesses and households in Indiana, Illinois and Missouri.
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