February 15, 2018
Communities in the Upper Midwest will soon have access to even better broadband speeds and coverage thanks to an ambitious $33.5 million fiber-to-the-home project partially financed by RTFC for AcenTek.
Headquartered in Houston, Minnesota, the company has evolved from a small carrier serving rural areas of southeast Minnesota to a thriving telecommunications provider offering business solutions and voice, video and data services to 33 communities across Minnesota, Iowa and Michigan.
Ready to take another technology leap, AcenTek turned to RTFC to finance their latest improvements. "Once the buildout is complete, we'll be able to deliver more advanced services and increased bandwidth for remote offices/telecommuting workers of employers in and around our service area," explains CEO Todd Roesler. The Mayo Clinic, IBM and Gunderson Health are just a few of the area's largest employers.
Economic development is another goal of the fiber buildout. "We want to attract new businesses and also help our existing business customers better compete across the state and at a national, and even global, level," Roesler remarks.
Local students will also benefit from the upgraded network that will allow them to participate in an initiative that puts a Chromebook in the hands of each student.
While the time and terrain of actual construction will be a challenge for AcenTek, obtaining financing was not. "We were very satisfied with RTFC and their willingness to work with us. We needed access to the most affordable capital as well as the flexibility to work with our unique structure and the changing dynamics of the broadband industry," explains CFO Darren Moser.
"At each point in the process, Ian Flanders, our RTFC account manager, made it feel like he was not only working with us, but more like he was working for us."
AcenTek has almost 18,000 Internet consumers, an equal number of voice connections and about 8,000 video customers. Despite the growth, Roesler says the company still maintains its cooperative roots, always keeping in mind that consumer-owners are also friends and neighbors.