Indiana Fiber Network
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As the premier association representing nearly 850 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America, NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association hosts several conferences, webinars and networking events throughout the year. On August 12-14 in Columbus, Ohio, NTCA will hold the Central + Northeast Regional Conference to cover the issues that surround telcos, their consumers, employees, and the overall industry.
Multiple regional conferences are held across the US, so attendees can choose the best location for their travel arrangements. IFN CEO Jim Turner is attending the Central + Northeast Conference in Columbus, located less than three hours from Indianapolis, and will participate on a panel of experts.
Join Jim and fellow panelists for a discussion on critical considerations: “Change is Inevitable. Change is Constant.” Presented by the NTCA Associate Member Advisory Council (AMAC), this panel will discuss “solutions and strategies focused on the crucial challenges involved with making impactful changes within a rural telco.” Panel attendees will learn from real examples of making change happen from across the industry and hear thoughts on creating a change roadmap for lasting success within their company. Individual presentations from panelists will be made during the panel discussion.
For more details about the NTCA Central + Northeast Regional conference, please visit NTCA.org. We look forward to seeing you in Columbus!
WHAT: NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association Central + Northeast Regional Conference
WHEN: August 12-14, 2018
WHERE: Hilton Columbus Downtown, 401 North High Street, Columbus, OH 43215
WHY: Find expert-led seminars and a small-group atmosphere to discuss current challenges, new technologies, and the latest regulatory and legislative developments. Exchange ideas and successful practices with your peers and leave with a better understanding of the ever-changing business landscape.
Critical Considerations by AMAC: “Change is Inevitable. Change is Constant.”
Monday, August 13, 8:30 a.m.
This discussion of solutions and strategies focuses on the crucial challenges involved with making impactful changes within a rural telco. Learn from real examples of making change happen from across the industry and hear thoughts on creating a change roadmap for lasting success within your company.
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By now, it is probably clear that we’re passionate here at IFN about closing the digital divide in Indiana. It’s not an overstatement to say that internet connectivity is a basic necessity today – not quite on the same level as food, water, and electricity, but pretty darned close. Hoosiers across the state don’t just want high-speed connectivity, they need it. We want to ensure they can be connected, whether that’s to run their business website or complete online ordering.
In our previous post, we talked about ILECs – the local telephone companies that make up IFN’s member/owners and connect their customers to the internet via phone lines and fiber. And we have talked about REMCs – rural electric membership cooperatives that provide electricity to rural communities and households and operate under the umbrella of electric generation and transmission (G&T) cooperatives. When IFN started out in 2002, the aim of the company was to provide the high-speed network that helped connect our 20 telecom member/owners. In the past 16 years, IFN and our member/owners have grown to be well-oiled machines, laying fiber and connecting customers across the state. Our company and our member/owners have done a good job, but there is much more to do to ensure that high speed connectivity reaches every part of the state.
Enter: Electric Cooperatives
There is a strong demand for bandwidth in communities that are serviced by REMCs. In fact, the number one issue brought up at electric co-op meetings isn’t electricity, but broadband. REMCs and umbrella G&Ts may not have specialized expertise in internet connectivity, but what they do have are great infrastructure networks. Could IFN and its member/owners partner with the rural electric co-ops to utilize those networks to build out fiber lines and enhance connectivity across the state of Indiana? We think so!
Partnering with REMCs is not without its challenges, of course. Although they share similar historical missions, rural telephone companies and rural electric co-ops have not traditionally been asked to share ownership or operation of their networks. Both may bristle at the idea of sharing these responsibilities rather than “just doing it ourselves,” as these companies have traditionally done for nearly 100 years.
But the opportunity is promising and potentially huge: rural electric co-ops have the infrastructure networks to access even some of the hardest-to-serve areas of the state, but they generally lack the telephone and broadband connectivity expertise required to operate highly complex fiber networks. Rural telecom providers have the expertise, but not necessarily the infrastructure or the capital to ensure high speed connectivity to every hard-to-serve area of the state. By working together, rural electric co-ops will be able to meet the increasingly insistent (and understandable) demands of their members for high-speed bandwidth, and small telecom providers will have an opportunity to expand their reach outside of their own service areas by helping to operate the electric co-op’s fiber networks. “Win-win-win” has become a somewhat trite phrase, but it perfectly describes the opportunity in front of rural telecom companies and rural electric companies.
No one partnership model is going to be perfect. Business arrangements between IFN, REMCs, and ILECs are going to come in different forms, but no matter the model, many underserved communities – indeed, the entire state of Indiana – will benefit.
At IFN, we believe we can play the role of “matchmaker” – the facilitator of win-win-win partnerships between these two industries – all with an eye towards bringing high-speed fiber connectivity to rural Hoosier businesses and homes. Ultimately, the real winners are the rural Indiana consumers who will have access to high-speed broadband no matter how far they live from a city.
Interested in being part of the solution of connecting rural Indiana with fiber broadband? We’d love to hear from you.
Readers of our blog know that we are committed to bringing fast, always-on connectivity to all parts of Indiana and to closing the digital divide between urban and rural businesses in the state. As part of that effort, IFN has enabled fiber-ready sites in many Indiana communities for businesses to tap into. We will be highlighting these areas during the coming weeks to show rural Indiana business owners that high-speed connectivity is not just a big-city amenity.
The first fiber-ready sites we want to highlight are in the Kokomo area. We have assisted in preparing three fiber-ready sites with low-cost, high-bandwidth internet services in Howard and Tipton Counties. With sites spread across two counties, IFN can increase access to high-speed, reliable broadband for area businesses to tap into. There are roughly 1,200 buildings located near IFN’s fiber-optic backbone in Howard and Tipton counties.
The following locations in Howard and Tipton Counties are fiber-optic ready:
- · Lincoln Business Park, located one-half mile east of U.S. 31 on Lincoln Rd, Kokomo, IN 46902
- · The former GM Delco Plant, located at 2276 E Lincoln Rd, Kokomo, IN 46902
- · The intersection of State Road 28 and U.S. 31 in Tipton, IN 46072
“We are focused on helping businesses in Kokomo and the Howard County area flourish,” said Charlie Sparks, President and CEO of the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance. “Connecting multiple developing sites via IFN’s fiber allows us to enhance the region’s economic potential. This not only strengthens our service to existing businesses, it also positions us better to attract new business opportunities. We’re excited to be able to provide this service to our current and future employers with the help of IFN.”
If you are wondering if we’re in your area, stay tuned over the next few weeks as we highlight all of our fiber-ready sites. Or, contact us at (317) 280-4636 or email@example.com. We’d love to discuss how we can benefit your organization.
Indiana Fiber Network (IFN), the leading fiber-based service provider in Indiana, has announced that company CEO Jim Turner has been elected to the INDATEL board of directors. Turner is the second IFN CEO to serve on the board.
“I am honored to have been chosen to join INDATEL’s board of directors. This nationwide network, with a fiber optic route footprint covering over 100,000 miles, provides best-in-class fiber optic connectivity in rural and urban areas alike. As part of that network, IFN can expand the range of options it provides Hoosier businesses in rural areas,” said Turner. “IFN and INDATEL share the goal of delivering reliable bandwidth solutions in rural and underserved markets.”
INDATEL is a team of wholesale carriers dedicated to providing cost-effective transport connectivity via fiber optic network routes in rural and metropolitan areas. Among INDATEL’s members that primarily consist of independent rural telecom service providers, INDATEL delivers reliable bandwidth solutions in rural and underserved markets. INDATEL and its members are uniquely positioned to provide telecommunication connectivity to many places other providers cannot serve.
“Jim Turner will no doubt be an excellent addition to the INDATEL Services Board and I’m personally excited and pleased to have him on the leadership team of the future,” said Mel Wagner Jr., CEO of INDATEL Services. “Indiana Fiber Network has been and continues to be an exemplary, committed, and active member/owner of INDATEL, almost since inception in 2003.”
IFN has been a member of the INDATEL network since 2005.
Turner has served as CEO of Indiana Fiber Network since 2017 and has extensive experience leading companies that provide critical infrastructure services to the public. His work focuses on sharpening operational execution across the business to improve efficiency, enhance owner value, and advance customer satisfaction. Currently, he is also working to refine IFN’s business model to ensure the company has the right culture, strategic processes, and operating tools to thrive in an increasingly competitive space.
For more information about Indiana Fiber Network, please visit www.indianafiber.net.
About Indiana Fiber Network
Formed in 2002, Indiana Fiber Network, LLC (IFN) is comprised by twenty local exchange telephone companies throughout the state. They offer data center, Internet backbone, and data transport services over state-of-the-art Ethernet, CDWM, DWDM, and SONET fiber networks, with service in the State of Indiana and throughout the US via a network of national partners. For more information, please visit IFN’s website at www.indianafiber.net or call (317) 280-4636.
About INDATEL Services, LLC
INDATEL Services is a nationwide network that provides fiber connectivity from rural to urban America. INDATEL excels in delivering reliable broadband connectivity via fiber optic network routes across rural areas and is uniquely positioned to provide broadband telecommunications services to many places other carriers can’t deliver services. INDATEL’s nationwide network represents over 100,000 fiber optic miles with over 300,000 Member/Owner & Affiliates serviceable buildings, serving 5,000+ communities using over 1,100+ nationwide POP’s and representing 700 independent rural exchanges providers.
Haley Williams, Dittoe PR for Indiana Fiber Network, firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-202-2280 X 19
How Fiber, Electricity and teleCommunications companies CAN work together TO BRIDGE the digital divide (Part 2)
As we shared in our previous blog post, our country is currently facing a digital divide. In rural communities, 35 percent of Americans lack access to high-speed broadband internet.
In this series of blog posts, we are exploring a solution to Indiana’s digital divide which involves fiber networks, rural electric co-ops and telephone companies working together. For this installment, we’ll introduce the key players.
Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (ILECs)
An ILEC is a local telephone company that held the regional monopoly on landline service before the market was opened to competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs).
If you’re familiar with the term ILEC, then one may already provide you with internet. These legacy telephone companies are made up of Indiana Fiber Network’s member/owners and allow their customers to connect directly to the internet via phone lines – and some high speed fiber.
Though not necessarily through a statute or decree, ILECs have traditionally not experienced a lot of competition because they have chosen to build in sparsely populated areas. Urban areas tend to have multiple service providers, while rural areas often do not.
Examples of Indiana ILECs (that are also IFN member/owners) include Citizens Telephone, New Lisbon Telephone and Washington County Rural Telephone Cooperative. Some Indiana ILECs are commercial, for-profit businesses, and some are member-owned cooperatives, which means they are non-profit.
Rural Electric Membership Corporations (REMCs)
REMCs, also known as rural electric membership cooperatives, provide electricity to rural communities and homesteads throughout the country. REMCs were created in the 1930s as part of the Rural Electrification Act and exist today under the umbrella of electric generation and transmission (G&T) cooperatives.
By statute, REMCs were created to act as monopolies because of policy decisions to ensure there were not multiple power lines running down the same street and connecting to multiple different power plants. Therefore, there is no competition among REMCs today because electric company service territories are assigned geographically. Electricity customers use the energy company in their area. For instance, if you were to move from Indianapolis to Carmel, your service provider would switch from Indianapolis Power & Light to Duke Energy.
Wabash Valley Power Association and Hoosier Energy Rural Electric Cooperative are G&T electric cooperatives providing wholesale power and services to member distribution cooperatives throughout Indiana. Under their umbrellas, they service localized electric distribution cooperatives. Together, they serve the majority of the rural electric distribution cooperatives currently providing all rural Hoosiers with electricity.
Now that we’ve introduced a couple of the key players, we’ll explore a solution to Indiana’s digital divide which involves Indiana Fiber Network working together with rural electric wholesale G&Ts, REMCs and ILECs to create a win-win-win solution for all of our customers across Indiana.
Stay tuned for Part 3 when we will discuss our solution for advancing fiber connectivity across the state.
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In rural America, 35 percent of Americans – or roughly 22 million people – lack meaningful access to high-speed broadband internet. This is compared to just 3 percent of people in urban areas.
Sometimes referred to as the “digital divide,” this gap in broadband availability is frankly unacceptable when you consider that every industry – from healthcare and education to manufacturing and farming – increasingly relies on internet connectivity. The digital divide, in other words, hurts more than our ability to stream videos.
A recent report from the Indiana Broadband Technology Association shows that Indiana is beginning to close the gap in broadband availability. But there is more work to do.
In this series of blog posts, we will explore a solution to Indiana’s digital divide which involves fiber networks, telephone companies, and rural electric co-ops working together to connect all Hoosiers to high speed broadband – much like a focus on instant telephonic communications and electrification transformed the landscape of rural America in the early part of the 20th century.
In 1935, only 10 percent of rural America had access to electrical power. This figure was in sharp contrast to the 90 percent of urban dwellers who utilized electricity daily.
In an effort to elevate the living condition of all Americans – regardless of where they lived – the Roosevelt Administration enacted the Rural Electrification Act in 1936. The act provided federal loans to install electrical distribution systems to serve isolated areas throughout the country. These funds were distributed through rural electric membership corporations (REMCs) – most of which still exist today.
Thanks to the Rural Electrification Act and REMCs, 90 percent of rural America had access to electricity by 1950. In less than 15 years, living conditions in rural areas completely changed, creating access to electronic appliances, running water, and a connection to the outside world via radio.
Today, we’ve reached a similar turning point regarding the need for greater connectivity via the internet. Just as REMCs connected Americans through electricity access – and telephone companies connected the country via instant communication – these companies, working hand-in-hand with fiber networks such as IFN, can deliver this connectivity to Hoosiers who are caught in the digital divide.
Stay tuned for Part 2 when we will discuss the key players in advancing fiber connectivity across the state.
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Indiana Fiber Network Contracts with Whitley County to Expand Broadband Internet Access, Promote Economic Development
Indiana Fiber Network expanding broadband internet access in and around the Park 30 Business Center
INDIANAPOLIS (May 7, 2018) – Indiana Fiber Network, LLC (IFN), a leading fiber-based service provider in Indiana, today announces a contract with the Whitley County Commissioners to augment its network to serve the Park 30 Business Center and additional businesses along the U.S. Highway 30 corridor.
In addition, IFN will construct the necessary facilities in and around the Park 30 Business Center to properly service area businesses along the fiber route with low-cost, high-bandwidth Internet service. The company will also offer promotional pricing to these businesses. Once IFN has extended its fiber facilities into a business, the company can offer carrier-agnostic connectivity.
“High speed fiber optics are redefining the way Hoosiers work, play, collaborate and communicate in today’s global economy,” said Jim Turner, CEO of Indiana Fiber Network. “Our fiber backbone extends from Fort Wayne through the Columbia City metro area and continues on to Warsaw, connecting dozens of businesses to our state and nationwide network. We look forward to the opportunities increased bandwidth and fiber communication options will bring to Whitley County.”
The Park 30 Business Center is a business and industrial park developed by electric utility company Northeastern Rural Electric Membership Corporation (NREMC). Park 30 is a shovel ready industrial park which includes full underground utility infrastructure and transportation connections which will now include access to Indiana Fiber Network’s fiber-optic cable network.
“We have come to realize that for businesses to flourish in Whitley County, broadband internet infrastructure is just as important as other services like water, sewer and roads,” said George Schrumpf, President of the Whitley County Commissioners. “Expanding the county’s fiber footprint will grow the businesses all along the US 30 corridor. We’re delighted to have the opportunity to work with IFN on this project and we are hopeful that its success will spur additional projects to roll out this vital service across the county.”
IFN anticipates the fiber-optic facilities will be complete in July 2018, allowing IFN to expand the fiber construction directly to businesses along the fiber route.
“Fiber has higher bandwidth capacity and uses less energy than copper facilities,” said IFN Director of Business Development Rob Ramsey. “More bandwidth and less electricity save businesses money, particularly in today’s world where businesses transmit large amounts of data, as fiber optics are ideally suited for those applications.”
IFN provides fiber broadband service via more than 4,500 route miles of fiber transport and connects more than 4,000 buildings in Indiana.
For more information about Indiana Fiber Network, please visit www.indianafiber.net.
About Indiana Fiber Network
Formed in 2002, Indiana Fiber Network, LLC (IFN) is comprised by twenty local exchange telephone companies throughout the state. They offer data center, Internet backbone and data transport services over state-of-the-art Ethernet, CDWM, DWDM, and SONET fiber networks, with service in the State of Indiana and throughout the US via a network of national partners. For more information, please visit IFN’s website at www.indianafiber.net or call (317) 280-4636.
About Whitley County EDC
The Whitley County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is the lead economic development agency in Whitley County, Indiana. The EDC works closely with local, regional and state partners to support our industry clients’ growth and success. Our mission is to lead a comprehensive economic development program that retains and expands employment opportunities for local residents and attracts business investment to Whitley County. The Whitley County EDC was established in 1992 and represents Whitley County, Columbia City and the Towns of Churubusco, Larwill and South Whitley. For more information about the EDC, visit: www.whitleyedc.com.
Madisen Petrosky, Dittoe PR for Indiana Fiber Network, email@example.com or 317-202-2280 X 16
Katie Dewitt (Whitley County EDC), firstname.lastname@example.org or 260-244-5506
IFN performs comprehensive update of packet network to prepare for future innovations and growth.
INDIANAPOLIS (April 3, 2018) – Indiana Fiber Network, LLC (IFN) today announces it has begun a multi-year, multi-million dollar network upgrade across the state to increase capacity and improve broadband access reliability. The upgrades will increase capacity, improve stability, and add efficiency – all of which are geared toward enhancing customers’ service experience.
“Over the last year, IFN has invested over $20 million dollars in customer and infrastructure-related projects to enable scalable and secure high-speed broadband connectivity for users in both urban and rural areas, said Jim Turner, Indiana Fiber Network CEO. “These investments will help drive sustainable economic development across the state. More importantly, these network infrastructure upgrades will allow us to meet the growing service demands of our carrier and enterprise customers.”
The hardware upgrades are set to take place in phases over the next two years. Phase one of four in 2018 is now complete, with the remaining 2018 phases to be completed in April, May and June. Additional phases of the project will begin in the first quarter of 2019.
“This is a significant upgrade to IFN’s packet network,” said Darryl Smith, IFN vice president of operations. “This is a multi-phased project, scheduled to be completed in late 2019, leveraging the latest technology. The platform upgrades and architectural changes IFN is implementing will position our network to handle the capacity and demands created by new protocols, such as 5G, as they become more widely available.”
IFN provides fiber broadband service via more than 4,500 route miles of fiber transport and connects more than 4,000 buildings in Indiana. IFN’s network provides Ethernet service speeds of up to 100 Gbps to its member/owners, carriers, data centers and enterprise customers.
For more information about Indiana Fiber Network, please visit www.indianafiber.net.
About Indiana Fiber Network
Indiana Fiber Network, LLC (IFN) was formed in March of 2002, whose ownership is comprised by twenty local exchange telephone companies throughout the state. They offer data center, Internet backbone, and data transport services over state-of-the-art Ethernet, CDWM, DWDM, and SONET fiber networks, with service in the State of Indiana and throughout the US via a network of national carrier partners. For more information, please visit IFN’s website at www.indianafiber.net or call (317) 280-4636
Kate Stuard, Dittoe PR for Indiana Fiber Network, email@example.com or 317-202-2280 X 18
Nearly every household and business in America today has reliable electricity and a telephone connection. A century ago, this was key to connectivity down the street and across the country. A phone line and electricity allowed businesses to flourish in big cities and small towns, spurring growth in both jobs and population.
The governmental oversight that encouraged this infrastructure paid off well into the 1970s. However, as the ‘80s and ‘90s saw the rise of the internet, its popularity and necessity, the fervor that allowed for infrastructural investments to connect rural America to city centers has been slower to take hold for the internet.
In rural America, 35 percent of Americans – or roughly 22 million people – lack access to high-speed broadband internet. This is compared to just 3 percent of people in urban areas. When every industry from health care and education to manufacturing and farming rely on internet connectivity, this digital divide between rural and urban communities hurts more than our ability to stream videos.
Rural economic development: The power of fiber
The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) defines economic development as “creating the conditions for economic growth and improved quality of life by expanding the capacity of individuals, firms and communities to maximize the use of their talents and skills to support innovation, lower transaction costs and responsibly produce and trade valuable goods and services.”
Today, companies like Amazon, Google and Salesforce couldn’t exist without cutting-edge high-speed internet access, but neither could companies like John Deere or Ford. Businesses in all industries need reliable access to high-speed internet to compete locally and globally. Connecting rural America with reliable internet access means those communities have equal access to the information companies like Salesforce or John Deere have, without the need to move to silicon city hubs.
Not only will existing businesses be better connected, but individuals will as well. While everyone who grew up in the country won’t want to live there forever, those who do are often pulled away by their careers. It’s unlikely budding entrepreneurs can run a start-up through dial-up internet, but removing that barrier removes limitations on where and when businesses can begin. The same holds true for large enterprises looking to expand. According to Broadband Communities, while “the presence of a robust broadband network may not itself be sufficient to persuade an organization to come to or stay in a community, the absence of such a network guarantees that potential employers will go elsewhere.”
Equal access to fiber broadband means rural Americans have equal access to opportunities in today’s information age, without the need to move away from the communities they love.
Indiana Fiber Network: Connecting Indiana
Today, IFN’s 4,100 route miles of fiber optic cable is in 456 Indiana towns and cities. Not only are we investing in connecting Hoosiers across the state, we are also part of the INDATEL network to connect our customers across the country. Our highly resilient network guarantees you connectivity to complete the activities or research your business needs to compete on a global scale. For more updates, follow Indiana Fiber Network on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
The internet has unquestionably become a vital part of our lives. Many people today rely on the internet not only for the distractions provided by social media, but for work, education and navigation. Wherever you are, you can see someone holding some sort of smart device, using the internet at lightning speed. Over that past few years the internet has become a basic need people place in the same category as food, water and electricity. Our use has increased, and with it, the need for faster internet speeds.
The increase from 1G to 4G in the past half century has been vast. The first iteration of wireless communication capabilities was 1G that burst onto the scene around the 1960s, moving at 2.4 kbps (kilobytes per second) and only boasting a basic voice service. 2G and 3G both made their way in the 1990s, designed for voice and some data consideration. Speed jumped considerably from 64 kbps to 2,000 kbps, making it easier to talk and text. Eight years ago, 4G arrived, finally giving us true mobile broadband at speeds up to 100,000 kbps.
From 1G to 4G there has been a huge transformation—but what does 5G have in store for us?
According to CNBC, 5G will perform up to ten times faster than the current 4G networks. That will allow a great boost in data speed. Content that takes us minutes to download now will be downloaded in seconds with 5G. Entire new businesses will be created, and significant advances will happen in areas of health, energy and public safety due to the ability to connect billions of devices and individuals. Accenture recently predicted the birth of 5G in the U.S. will create three million American jobs and drive over $500 billion in U.S. gross domestic product growth.
The promise of new technology is exciting, but it doesn’t come without its challenges. 4G requires large cellular towers dispersed every few miles to work properly. 5G, however, will require a massive deployment of small cell technology to enable the network to handle the sheer amount of data transmission.
While many Americans believe we’re living in a wireless world, 4G and 5G alike rely on infrastructure. 5G won’t even be able to get off the ground without streamlining the process to approve and build these small local cells. Today, it can take a year or more to get a permit, but only an hour to install a small cell.
More importantly, 5G will heavily rely on fiber. Faster speeds of 5G will depend on higher radio frequencies and greater fiber network densification, meaning there needs to be an increased number of small cell infrastructures and a greater fiber network to connect and facilitate 5G usage. To show how important fiber is, Deloitte reports 90 percent of all internet traffic travels over wireline fiber, even if it ultimately terminates on a wireless device.
With that much traffic relying on wireline fiber, it should be installed everywhere we live, work and play. However, fiber passes less than one third of homes in the U.S., and only 39 percent of consumers have access to more than one broadband provider of 25 Mbps (megabits per second) service—the minimum speed definition of broadband according to the Federal Communications Commission. Adding and expanding fiber will not only set the stage for consumers to use 5G, but it will provide them with the internet connection they have been missing.
Today, Indiana Fiber Network (IFN) manages 4,100 route miles of fiber optic cable across the state of Indiana, connecting more than 4,000 buildings. Additionally, IFN provides national connectivity through carrier hotels and INDATEL to expand its footprint. IFN provides the most secure, reliable, and cost-effective telecommunications services possible. For more updates, follow Indiana Fiber Network on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.