Overland Park, KS – August 1, 2022 – INDATEL is pleased to announce the addition of Hoosier Net to our member family. Hoosier Net’s membership will allow businesses in Indiana to have broader and better fiber access to continue the shared vision of connecting rural America.
Hoosier Net was founded in 2021 when Rob Shema, CEO of Independents Fiber Network (IFN/CNI) in Ohio, and John Greene, CEO of New Lisbon Broadband Communications in Indiana, had an idea to bring better fiber connection to businesses in Indiana. The idea started after the acquisition of Intelligent Fiber Network by Zayo in June 2021. Intelligent Fiber Network had provided fiber-based connectivity solutions to over 400 customers and operated a 5,000 route-mile network across Indiana, including Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Columbus, Terre Haute and South Bend. But with its acquisition to Zayo, a competitor to many of the local fiber providers in Indiana, Shema and Greene recognized the need for a state-wide fiber network that would be owned by individual internet service providers.
“In 2021 we started to ask, ‘what do we do with the current situation?’” said Greene. “Some smaller members of what had been Intelligent Fiber Network were having a tough time with middle-mile. Not long after the sale to Zayo, those organizations started having issues with service and support; they couldn’t get services up and running quickly to customers, and prices were increasing,” he explained. “It was the perfect opportunity to encourage some of the smaller Tier 3’s to say ‘yes, we’re ready to look at another state-wide network in Indiana.’” Since then, Hoosier Net has been able to collaborate with 16 ILECs, CNI of Ohio, and Accord (a consortium of 18 REMCs and ILECs in Indiana) to offer state-of-the-art services in their respective communities.
Soon Hoosier Net will cover the majority of rural Indiana and will continue to expand, with INDATEL membership being an important part of this.
One aspect of an INDATEL membership that the Hoosier Net team is looking forward to is that through INDATEL, they are able to provide middle-mile services to a bigger footprint, gain access to more customers, create more capital, and be able to tell their story. “There are very few networks that have both ILECs, and REMCs working together to create a massive footprint,” states Shema. “We planned on pursuing an INDATEL membership right from the start, and since we are majority owned by telcos, we could qualify to be a member. We understand that we can’t be an island and that INDATEL provides the solution.” The Hoosier Net team’s goal is to enable their members to have conversations around middle-mile services and position Hoosier Net as the company that can provide these services and others to bring access to a larger nationwide footprint.
“State-wide networks can do more because they can connect more businesses together. Just like state-wide networks enable member-owners to be more successful, INDATEL enables the state-wide networks to be more successful,” says Shema. “I think it makes us unique that we took INDATEL membership ownership into consideration when we formed Hoosier Net. We don’t want to be an associate member – we want to really be involved and put this together in a way that would make us eligible for INDATEL ownership, not just membership.”
Regarding Shema and Greene’s next steps for Hoosier Net, Greene uses the football analogy that they are “first and 10 on the 5-yard line with 95 yards to go.” There is certainly a lot yet to do – with the formation complete and the board set, the next step is applying for funding. “Participating in the funding available through the NTIA middle mile project is going to be imperative for our success on this project,” says Greene. “We are confident as we go to NTIA to pursue a grant, which will help us connect various networks that have both telcos and REMCs and connect to big data centers in Indianapolis.”
“We are getting involved with INDATEL as quickly as possible,” Greene continues. “We know that the world doesn’t slow down for us, and we want revenue coming in before our network is fully established so that we can ensure the success of our member owners
.” While the Hoosier Net team knows that it may take multiple years to complete their middle-mile fiber project, they look forward to taking a front seat to the process and plan to keep the wheels turning to continue their vision of connecting rural Indiana.
INDATEL Services provides fiber connectivity utilizing its unique independent member network. INDATEL’s members represent more than 400,000 fiber-optic route miles and over 1.5 million serviceable buildings primarily focused on rural and suburban America. INDATEL serves its customers through its national aggregation PoPs, reaching over 700 independent providers currently operating in 47 states. For more information about INDATEL Services, visit www.indatel.com