IdeaTek Bridges the Digital Divide in Rural Harvey County with $3.9M Grant
IdeaTek, a leading provider of fiber internet in Kansas, is taking a significant step toward bridging the digital divide in rural Harvey County thanks to a $3.9 million grant awarded by the Kansas Office of Broadband Development.
The grant, part of the state’s LINC, Leveraging Infrastructure Networks for Connectivity program, will fund the construction of 150 miles of fiber network in eastern Harvey County, bringing reliable, high-speed internet to nearly 450 residents and businesses.
“Expanding broadband access into rural areas of Harvey County will provide improved access to information and resources for residents and businesses alike,” said Harvey County Commission Chairman Randy Hague. “These grant funds will deliver meaningful service in their everyday lives. We appreciate IdeaTek and the Kansas Department of Commerce for collaborating on this opportunity to benefit our citizens.”
The Harvey County grant is part of the state’s broader effort to expand broadband access to all Kansans. Gov. Laura Kelly announced Wednesday that IdeaTek was one of 12 recipients in this round of funding, providing over $33.9 million in broadband investment for 12 Kansas communities
Broadband access is critical for economic growth, education and public safety, said IdeaTek Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer Daniel Friesen. The grant is an investment in the future of Harvey County.
“A dirt road is no longer an excuse for poor broadband service,” Friesen said. “Our mission of Internet Freedom means we believe everyone should have access to high-speed fiber internet – no matter where they live. We are prepared to seize every opportunity to provide residents with the connectivity they deserve.”
The grant is a testament to IdeaTek’s mission to provide Kansas with reliable fiber connectivity. The project will begin in 2024 and will be completed in phases. The route also connects the community of Walton, population 217. The project is further supported by a $250,000 pledge from the Harvey County Commission, bringing the total investment to nearly $5 million.
“The grant is a culmination of years of collaboration with various stakeholders across Harvey County,” said IdeaTek’s Community and Public Relations Manager James Krstolich. “The support of the Kansas Department of Commerce’s Office of Broadband Development is instrumental in our effort to bridge the digital divide in the county.”
Building fiber takes time, but soon residents can look forward to:
- Symmetrical upload and download speeds
- Unlimited data
- No throttling, interruptions or lag time
- No annual contracts
- Friendly, Kansas-based customer service
Based in Buhler, IdeaTek is expanding rapidly. The company has built fiber to more than 60 communities across Kansas — from Garden City to Chase County. IdeaTek has already made significant private investments in Harvey County by building fiber in several cities, including Burrton, Sedgwick, Hesston and Halstead. Currently, crews are working on expanding fiber access to Newton.
Chip Westfall, a Harvey County Emergency Communications Advisory Board member and a former county commissioner, said he has been working with IdeaTek for the past two years to make the project a reality. A strong advocate for improving public safety in the county, Westfall said the new fiber-optic connection will be a crucial asset for emergency responders to communicate more effectively and efficiently.
“High-speed internet is vital to the success of Harvey County’s businesses and farms/ ranches,” he said. “It will also ensure that our students can connect to schools and that those who work from home can do so without interruption. This is a win-win for Harvey County.”
To see if your home is in IdeaTek’s build and to sign up for service, visit hookmeup.ideatek.com.
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.