Aug. 22, 2022
BUHLER, Kansas — The need for reliable, fiber internet across Kansas continues to propel IdeaTek Telcom in the ranks of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies — landing at 2,310 on the 2022 Inc. 5,000 list recently revealed by Inc. magazine.
This is the ninth time IdeaTek has made the prestigious list. Last year, the company ranked 822. The list represents an elite showcase of well-managed and successful companies based on three-year growth rates. Microsoft, Dell, Fitbit, Pandora and other household names gained their first national exposure as honorees on the list.
“Every American deserves Internet Freedom, where access to fast and competitive broadband is available not as a luxury, but as a fundamental utility,” said IdeaTek Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer Daniel Friesen. “Our growth is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our talented team who believes in our mission. They roll up their sleeves to provide thousands of Kansans with Internet Freedom™.”
Founded by Friesen and four high school friends in 1999, IdeaTek’s mission is to connect underserved communities with affordable, high-speed internet service. To date, the company has deployed more than 4,000 miles of fiber — plus built 100 fixed wireless towers — serving customers in nearly 70 Kansas communities.
Significant private investment paired with several state and federal broadband expansion programs has expedited IdeaTek’s growth trajectory. The company has tripled its workforce to 130 — adding nearly 90 high-tech jobs in the past 2 years — making it one of Reno County’s larger employers.
In 2018, the Connect America Fund Phase II project gave IdeaTek the capital needed to deploy more than 600 miles of fiber-optic infrastructure to 3,000 premises in Reno, Sedgwick and Harvey counties.
In October 2020, the company received Covid-mitigation (CARES) funding from the Kansas Department of Commerce to provide relief from poor internet access for thousands of residents in central and southwest Kansas, including in the counties of Reno, Chase, Meade and Edwards. The award was the largest of Kansas’ broadband grants.
The total investment was over $18 million.
“It was the most rewarding and challenging broadband project we’ve done to date,” Friesen said.
Meanwhile, IdeaTek’s growth continues into 2022 as the company explores new projects and funding opportunities to help close the digital divide, said IdeaTek President and CEO Jerrod Reimer. In May, the company was awarded a Broadband Acceleration Grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce to bring fiber to rural Seward County.
The company also is working with several communities, including South Hutchinson, to provide future-proof solutions for growth.
“Kansans should have affordable and reliable internet access no matter where they live,” Reimer said. “Moreover, reliable access is critical to community growth and economic development. That’s why IdeaTek continues to dedicate resources into evaluating where we go next.”
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 4,000 miles of fiber throughout Kansas. IdeaTek has long been at the forefront in Kansas on broadband equity issues and is committed to enriching the communities in which they operate.
About Inc. 5000
Started in 1982, Inc. magazine’s list has become the hallmark of entrepreneurial success. The Inc. 5000 ranks companies by overall revenue growth over three years. To qualify for the 2021 list, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2017. They had to be U.S.-based, privately held, for-profit and independent—not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies. The minimum revenue required for 2017 is $100,000; the minimum for 2020 is $2 million. Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at www.inc.com/inc5000. The annual Inc. 5000 event honoring the companies on the list will be held virtually this fall.