Celebrating 25 Years of Internet Freedom

25 Years Blue

2024 marks a quarter-century of IdeaTek empowering Kansas communities to thrive through the pursuit of Internet Freedom. In celebration of IdeaTek’s 25th anniversary, let’s take a look at where we’ve been, where we’re going, and why we do what we do.

Rewind to 1999, a time when many households had desktop computers and internet use was awkward and painfully slow. Dial-up was the norm, making us choose between calling mom on our landline or surfing the net. With the Digital Age ramping up, 17-year-old Daniel Friesen and a small group of high school friends each scraped together $250 to start a computer repair business. Their first big sale was to their very own high school – Buhler High School in Buhler, Kansas. The high school needed 10 computers, and the group rose to the occasion.

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Focused on technology and computer repair and use, Daniel quickly identified a gap in connectivity in his rural Kansas town, and he knew he had the tools to help his community thrive in the digital age. However, little did Daniel know that those first 10 computers would send him on a telecommunications journey that would impact hundreds of communities, employ over 160 people, and connect tens of thousands of residents and businesses in his home state.

IdeaTek Telcom was born from a need to serve the clearly underserved when it came to internet connectivity. Friesen happily took on the task of helping rural communities become and stay connected and thriving with fiber internet, allowing opportunities for employment, education, healthcare, and social connection in places that were previously falling behind.

From 2007 to today, IdeaTek has built thousands of miles of fiber infrastructure in its effort to fulfill its mission of Internet Freedom. And what does Internet Freedom mean to us? It means freedom to choose your provider and not be trapped by monopolies; Freedom to experience infinite educational and career opportunities; Freedom to enjoy life, make new friends, and experience new things.

Internet Freedom Definition

The experiences and impact IdeaTek has had on the residents and businesses in our state has built the foundation of our mission of Internet Freedom. We’ve witnessed firsthand how the internet has transformed our lives. We’ve seen businesses flourish, students excel, and families stay connected across Kansas. Internet connectivity has revolutionized the way businesses operate, enabling them to reach customers globally, streamline operations, and foster collaboration. Students benefit from the wealth of information and educational resources available online, making learning more accessible and interactive. Families have embraced the internet as a bridge, spanning physical distances and allowing them to stay connected with loved ones near and far.

From working directly with big players like Verizon to build IdeaTek fiber to cell towers, to a heartfelt personal testimonial from Meade County Commissioner Randy Leis after providing his community a reliable broadband connection for the first time ever, IdeaTek has been at the forefront of innovation, constantly pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. With its unwavering commitment to excellence, IdeaTek has played a pivotal role in harnessing the potential of the internet and shaping the future of technology. By embracing cutting-edge solutions and fostering a culture of creativity, IdeaTek now serves over 30,000 customers, empowering individuals, businesses and communities across Kansas to thrive in the digital age.

But our commitment to our customers goes beyond just providing fast internet. IdeaTek is a team of more than 160 Freedom Fighters that come together each day to passionately serve our communities. We give back by volunteering for community projects, sponsoring community events, and supporting local businesses. Meeting the many needs of the communities we serve plays a pivotal role in our mission of Internet Freedom, so we commit every day to come together for our communities in any way we can.

Today, IdeaTek continues its mission for Internet Freedom with a goal to bring fiber internet to all corners of Kansas. IdeaTek 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 are a team of passionate innovators, driven by curiosity and a shared belief in the power of collaboration. We don’t just adapt to change – we embrace it, turning challenges into opportunities. Our inventive spirit sparks a contagious energy that fuels our pursuit of creative solutions.

As we celebrate this milestone anniversary, we’re filled with gratitude for the incredible journey we’ve shared as a company and with the communities we serve. This remarkable achievement is a testament to the hard work, dedication, and innovative spirit of our amazing employees, who have fostered a vibrant and supportive company culture. As we look ahead, we’re committed to continuing our legacy of innovation, expanding our fiber network, and providing fast, reliable service to our customers.

Thank you for being a part of the IdeaTek family. Here’s to the next 25 years of connecting communities!


About IdeaTek Telcom

IdeaTek Telcom, LLC, is a Buhler, Kansas-based broadband service provider with the mission of “Fighting for Internet Freedom ™.” IdeaTek uses a unique and innovative approach to deploy scalable, long-term fiber optic infrastructures, bridging the broadband gap in rural communities. The company has already successfully built over 4,500 miles of fiber throughout Kansas. IdeaTek has long been at the forefront of broadband equity issues and is committed to enriching the communities in which they operate. They were recently named to Inc. 5000’s list of fastest-growing companies for the 10th time.