Posted on April 5, 2023
Rainbow’s Director of Business Development, Angie Kreider, attended the most recent Brown County commissioner and city council meetings to announce the company’s plans to expand its fiber broadband network from the business district to all Hiawatha homes. After surveying Hiawatha businesses and the school district about their broadband challenges and needs, Rainbow invested $1.3 million and built a fiber-optic network for city businesses and anchor institutions in 2014. Fiber-optic broadband technology is much more scalable for future needs, allowing communities to continue innovating at its pace rather than being restricted by a limited broadband network. When building the business district fiber network, Rainbow considered future family broadband needs and made it so the company could later expand it to Hiawatha homes. In Hiawatha, construction will begin this summer to expand Rainbow’s fiber-optic network to all customer homes with in-home installs as early as March 2024. The construction project is a $5.4 Million investment in nearly 85 miles of fiber optic cabling to serve over 3,300 people in Hiawatha. In addition, the much-faster speed plans will be at or near their current pricing, increasing the service value and home value through fiber internet. Hiawatha residents will see speed plans of up to 1 Gigabit per second. Rainbow plans to extend its fiber network in eight service towns over five years. The towns include Hiawatha, Elwood, Highland, Horton, Sabetha, Seneca, Troy, and Wathena. These towns are not in any order other than Hiawatha being the first slated for construction. Rainbow’s CEO and General Manager, Jason Smith, states, “Our customers can trust when I say that we are committed to providing the absolute best in broadband technology, and that technology is fiber. It’s no longer just businesses that need fiber internet. Fiber provides the literal glass strands that will power smart-home products for decades to come. Whether that’s internet-enabled devices that help with daily chores, such as a robot-roving vacuum that also mops floors, a timer on your outdoor faucet for watering your garden, or products for next-level home entertainment such as immersive video games and movies. We are excited to deliver this future-ready technology in our hometowns”. Hiawatha’s anchor institutions and businesses have had one-gigabit symmetrical speed capabilities since 2014. However, Rainbow will upgrade its network electronics during construction to allow a multi-gigabit per second capability for schools and businesses for future demand. Angie Kreider, Director of Business Development, says, “The access to multi-gig capabilities for our anchor institutions and businesses will ensure every community the opportunity to leverage this advanced technology to close the digital divide, unleash economic development, provide education, and job opportunities, improve rural healthcare, and enable future innovations we have not even thought of yet. “ Rainbow Hiawatha customers received the news in a letter from Jason Smith. Rainbow will share more details during the multiple-month construction period.