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New internet service provider bringing high-speed, fiber internet to Des Moines

Indiana-based internet service provider MetroNet announced today that it will be bringing its 100 percent fiber optic internet, TV and phone service to businesses and residents in Des Moines.

MetroNet expects to invest approximately $70 million to fully fund the building of its network in Des Moines, bringing the total invested in Iowa communities in excess of $150 million. MetroNet does not require any investment from communities where they construct their 100 percent fiber-optic network, providing residents and businesses with symmetrical, Gigabit speed internet service.

MetroNet currently serves the Iowa communities of Davenport, Bettendorf, and Ames, and is currently in the process of bringing its 100 percent fiber optic network to the communities of Ankeny, Urbandale, Gilbert, Grimes, Johnston, Clive, Le Claire, Nevada and Mason City.

“We’re extremely pleased that a solid Midwestern company such as MetroNet is going to provide 100 percent fiber optic high-speed services to our residents,” said Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie in an announcement. “From the beginning, our goal for broadband services for Des Moines has been access to all homes, schools and businesses, affordability of service for all customers and an activation plan that ensures users understand, appreciate and utilize the benefits of the technology and services.”

MetroNet is bridging the digital divide as one of the fastest-growing providers of fiber optic high-speed broadband services in the nation and is known for its superior customer service provided through a strong local presence. MetroNet delivers speeds of up to 10 Gigabits with no long-term contracts to homes and businesses in underserved communities in America. The company expects its network to be available to over one million residential households and business locations in the near term, providing service options to hundreds of communities.

“MetroNet is excited to provide the City of Des Moines with a 100 percent fiber optic network, helping to future-proof another great Iowa city. We are excited to be adding Des Moines to our growing list of Gigabit cities across the United States and are very appreciative of the support we have received from the Des Moines Mayor, Frank Cownie and his team,” said John Cinelli, MetroNet President and CEO. “We are proud to serve and work with this great community while providing choice, competition, and unparalleled customer service.”

Construction activities will commence immediately with physical construction starting this coming fall. New customer installations are expected to start in the spring of 2022.

Additionally, MetroNet plans to hire local market management positions, sales and customer service professionals, and service technicians to support the Des Moines area.

New internet service provider bringing high-speed, fiber internet to Des Moines | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
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