Buhler, Kan., Oct. 8, 2020 – IdeaTek, an internet service provider headquartered in Buhler, was awarded $13.7 million in CARES funding on Thursday to provide relief from poor internet access for thousands of residents in 17 counties, including areas in and around Reno, Chase, Meade, and Edwards. The award is the largest of Kansas’ broadband grants and will be supplemented by IdeaTek with $3.5 million of private investment. 

The CARES funding, paired with support from local partners, represents a significant win for rural broadband development, empowering IdeaTek to connect thousands of rural residents and businesses with critically needed, high speed internet. This total project provides 1 gigabit fiber access to 4,248 premises with over 300 miles of fiber and 3,385 premises with ultra-fast unmetered wireless speeds of 100 megabits per second (mbps). 

IdeaTek expects implementation to begin immediately, with service becoming available over the next few months.

“We’ve been blazing a trail to close the rural-urban digital divide for years, but COVID-19 suddenly magnified rural struggles in connecting to the internet for work, school, and health care,” said Daniel Friesen, IdeaTek Founder and Chief Innovation Officer. “With this investment, we can achieve a significant leap in an unprecedented timeframe.”

IdeaTek had been focused exclusively on building the fiber network in central Kansas, which is a time-consuming and costly venture. “We realized this spring that thousands of households would be without acceptable internet and we felt a duty to think beyond fiber to close this gap now and address as many homes as possible,” Friesen said. 

The company started testing a next-generation fixed wireless technology promising 100 megabits per second. They found it delivered both great speed and good reliability—especially compared to current rural offerings that often deliver unacceptable speeds (less than 25mbps).

The company has been developing relationships with local officials and partnerships with community development organizations in several counties for years to set the foundation for opportunities like the CARES funding, local grants, and private investment.

“We have a strong coalition of advocates in Reno County, including Hutchinson/Reno County Chamber of Commerce, Hutchinson Community Foundation, United Way of Reno County, Kansas Health Foundation, and NetWork Kansas,” Friesen said. “Each member has provided both vocal advocacy for our effort and offered additional financial support to make sure low income families can get access cost-free.”  

Meade County Commissioner Randy Leis and Representative Boyd Orr had long been concerned about rural access in Southwest Kansas, but they faced an urgent situation when a major internet service provider exited the area at the end of March. Leis said, “Here in Meade County, we’ve been fighting to find anyone that could help us with our lack of internet services. We finally connected with a provider who cared.  IdeaTek has been working tirelessly with us to find a solution like this to bring Meade County to leading edge broadband speed. Meade will be broadband-rich when IdeaTek is finished.”

Chase County also rallied to create a coalition for a CARES grant. “Residents can thank the Chase County Chamber of Commerce, Chase County Broadband Task Force, Jenn Liard, Matt Lindamood and many others for their work,” Friesen said.

“We’re grateful to our local partners for their relentless advocacy and the Department of Commerce’s Stanley Adams, Secretary Toland, and Governor Kelly for acting on the urgent need for rural broadband by offering CARES funding,” said Friesen. “This is a massive project to complete in a short timeframe, and we ask that communities help us fast-track the permit process so we can start construction as soon as possible. We promise it’ll be worth it.”


Reno County

Extend IdeaTek’s existing, large fiber network and infill all other underserved rural areas with 100 mbps fixed wireless internet. This also includes bringing  gigabit fiber to the premise in the unserved towns of Pretty Prairie, Arlington, Langdon, Abbyville and Willowbrook.  

Edwards County and Surrounding Area

This investment will provide next generation, ultra-fast wireless internet deployed across Edwards county and partially cover Stafford county. Wireless technology will be deployed in strategic locations to provide maximal coverage for very underserved households including in and around the towns of Offerle, Kinsley, Lewis, Belpre, Macksville, St. John, Stafford, Haviland, Mullinville, and Bucklin. In addition, IdeaTek will provide fiber to home in the town of Cullison, plus lay fiber to connect towers and select homes along the fiber route. 

Meade County and Surrounding Area

Provide gigabit fiber to the premise in eight severely underserved communities; Kismet, Plains, Meade, Fowler, Minneola, Kismet, Ford, Kingsdown and Bloom. Additionally, deploy 100 mbps fixed wireless internet to rural premises outside of the fiber connectivity.


Chase County

Extend existing downtown gigabit fiber presence in Cottonwood Falls to all businesses and residents throughout Cottonwood Falls and Strong City. In addition, extend the fiber network to Florence and select premises along the route and strategic placement of towers throughout the county to provide 100 mbps fixed wireless internet.

Individuals interested in IdeaTek internet can check future availability and sign up now for service at by clicking “Check Availability” and filling out the form. IdeaTek’s service plans include unlimited usage, and contracts are not required. Premium WiFi and landline phones with unlimited long distance are also available.

Fiber Internet Pricing

25/5 mbps (up/down)


1000/100 mbps (up/down)


1000/500 mbps (up/down)


Wireless Internet Pricing

25/5 mbps (up/down)


50/5 mbps (up/down)


100/10 mbps (up/down)


Click here for a list of areas served.

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