Intelligent Fiber Network raises $13M to help fund expansion

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Intelligent Fiber Network, an Indianapolis-based broadband provider, announced Thursday that it has raised nearly $13 million in equity investment funding that it plans to use to expand its high-speed fiber network.

The fundraising series was IFN’s third since it began operation in 2002 and the network’s largest raise yet.

The funding came from some of its member-owners and a new owner: Wabash Valley Power.

The addition of Wabash Valley Power, which does business in Indiana, Illinois and Missouri, will allow IFN to expand its network out of the state for the first time.

“IFN actively looks for ways to partner with different entities and organizations to improve the level of broadband connectivity across the state,” IFN President and CEO Jim Turner said in written comments. “Partnering with Wabash Valley Power makes great sense—they were already our customer, and now we have the opportunity to significantly expand that relationship.”

Founded in 1963, Wabash Valley Power is an Indianapolis-based not-for-profit generation and transmission cooperative with more than $1.1 billion in assets. It provides wholesale electricity to 23 distribution cooperatives serving 311,000 businesses and households.

“Partnering with IFN provides us an opportunity to simultaneously connect and secure a complex electrical generation and transmission network,” Wabash Valley Power CEO Jay Bartlett said. “We’re thrilled by the opportunity to deepen our relationship with IFN.”

IFN, formerly known as Indiana Fiber Network, is owned by 20 local exchange telephone companies. The network provides high-speed fiber-optic backbone capabilities to its owners and to other telecommunications providers and business direct customers, including hospitals, schools and government facilities.

In 2018, IFN announced a plan to spend up to $100 million over the next five years to update its network across the state.

IFN’s network consists of more than 4,500 route miles of fiber-optic line across more than 60 Indiana counties.

Besides Wabash Valley Power, IFN received funding from Heartland Innovations Inc. in Ligonier, Rochester Telephone Co. in Rochester, LightStream in Buffalo, Monon Telephone Co. in Monon, Citizens Telephone Corp. in Warren, NineStar Connect in Greenfield and Enhanced Telecommunications in Sunman.

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