Iowa has more Independent Telecommunications Companies than any other state. We often hear the question, “How can these companies survive in this age of technology?” The answer to that question can be found by looking back to the late 1980’s.
Back then, with the expansion of long distance companies and the divestiture of AT&T, telecommunications companies in Iowa faced some hard decisions. Regulations said they had to connect to all long distance companies. The costs would have been high so they began to consider alternatives. The winning idea was to create a consortium of telecommunications companies that would together invest in and build a world-class, statewide fiber optic network. That was when Iowa Network Services was born. The long distance carriers now only had to connect to one point in Iowa to have access to all of the independent companies. The independents used the fiber network to connect to the carriers in Des Moines.
Since those early days, Iowa Network Services has continued to provide centralized services to these Independent Telecommunications Companies and to others as well. Today, services include long distance, Internet access, digital television, and many other products that each company would have to provide and maintain on their own were it not for Iowa Network Services.
The FCC continues to release new reform rules to stimulate deployment of broadband in unserved areas. They encourage consolidation of rural telecommunications companies under the guise that larger providers are more efficient. Many of the mid-size carriers have consolidated several times over the past 5–10 years and yet it is in these very areas that there is a lacking of broadband coverage.
Consolidation alone is not the answer and Iowa Network Services is an example of how community-based telecommunications companies can be more responsive to their communities than national providers. In addition, in a spirit of working together, one network with many parts continues to bring high level technologies to rural Iowa.
Iowa Network Services is constantly growing…growing in products and services offered, growing in the customer base we reach, growing in the coverage and capacity of the network. The goal of Iowa Network Services is the continued success of these Independent Telecommunications Companies that founded us. Their success is ours, and their commitment to their customers is ours as well.