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Leading Kansas Internet Provider IdeaTek Celebrates 25 Years

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By IdeaTek

 

BUHLER, Kan. — In 1999, a high school senior project in Buhler, Kansas, took root.

Over the past 25 years, it has transformed into IdeaTek, the leading fiber internet service provider in Kansas.

This year marks IdeaTek’s 25th anniversary, a significant milestone that highlights the company’s unwavering mission: connecting all Kansans with fast, reliable fiber internet.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years since a high school project sparked the idea that became IdeaTek,” said Daniel Friesen, IdeaTek’s Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer. “Back then, we were just a group of high-schoolers fixing computers, but, as we evolved, we quickly learned that our community’s need was bigger than just computer repair. We believe that every Kansan deserves access to affordable, reliable and ultra-fast internet. We’ve ingrained that mission into our culture and, as we celebrate this milestone, we’re proud to see that vision becoming a reality in communities across the state.”

With four high school friends, Friesen formed IdeaTek Systems, Inc. in 1999 with just $250 each. The friends went their separate ways during college, but Friesen stayed on – building the company while earning degrees in management information systems and business administration.

In 2005, Daniel led IdeaTek into telecommunications by purchasing and improving failing dial-up and DSL companies. This success funded the first fiber-to-home service in Buhler in 2007, followed by Inman, Haven, Yoder, Mount Hope and Bentley. ​​​

The company has been through many different growth cycles – from dialup and DSL to rural cell towers and leading earlier initiatives in small-cell mobile networks. Today, IdeaTek is leading the charge in next-generation, future-proof fiber internet. The company saw exponential growth in 2020 due to the Pandemic’s emphasis on reliable home internet access. IdeaTek was awarded $13.7 million in federal funding winning over one-third of all available funding to bring high-speed internet to 17 underserved Kansas counties, further supplemented by private investment

​Today, IdeaTek continues its mission for Internet Freedom with a goal to bring fiber internet to all corners of Kansas. The company employs over 160 Kansans, has deployed over 5,500 miles of fiber and has built 150 fixed wireless towers — serving customers in over 100 Kansas communities.

“We execute our vision of internet freedom by serving underserved customers the same today as we have for more than two decades,” said Chief Executive Officer Jerrod Reimer. “Our entire culture is oriented around guiding principles like passion, tenacity, and inventiveness, that continue to drive us forward and provide ultra-fast internet to more communities in Kansas.”

IdeaTek is rapidly expanding its fiber footprint. Current and upcoming fiber projects include Augusta, Mulvane, Derby, Maize, Hutchinson, Newton, Garden City, Dodge City, Kinsley and Eureka. Last year, IdeaTek secured state grant funding to construct 400 miles of fiber connecting farms, feedlots, and rural residents along the U.S. 83 Highway corridor from Liberal to Dodge City.

Beyond building fiber to communities, IdeaTek is partnering with state broadband officials to bridge the digital divide by building a “middle-mile” fiber network. This critical infrastructure will connect major cities and institutions across the state, making it easier and more cost-effective for any service provider to extend high-speed internet to unserved communities.

“Fiber internet is the gold standard for internet connectivity, and we want to bring this technology to as many communities as possible,” Friesen said. “With fiber, we are providing a new foundation for innovation, creativity and progress in the age of the digital economy.”

A campaign centered around 25 years of IdeaTek Internet Freedom will begin in June. The company will also showcase its history at their Internet Cafe at the Kansas State Fair.

To read more about the IdeaTek story, click here.

To see if your home is in IdeaTek’s residential build, visit hookmeup.ideatek.com.