Earlier this month, Indiana-based Intelligent Fiber Network raised some funds and brought a new type of regional operator in as one of its owners. Wabash Valley Power has invested as part of a $13M capital raise and joins the coalition of 20 independent LECs that own IFN.
Wabash Valley Power is based in Indianapolis and serves wholesale electricity to some 311,000 businesses and households in Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri. Like many power companies, they have deployed fiber along their utility rights-of-way in the course of the electricity business. The opportunities to leverage those assets better in the telecom space is always a lure, and by partnering with IFN they surely hope to find the right way to do that.
IFN will use the new funding to invest in more middle-mile infrastructure, both within its current footprint in Indiana and possibly across state lines as well. Last year on Telecom Ramblings we did an Industry Spotlight with IFN CEO Jim Turner in which this type of event was explicitly discussed. Rural telcos and rural electric cooperatives have not traditionally worked together much, but the potential synergies are clear. If this move by WVPA goes well, others may follow.