Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Nextlink Internet partners with Tarana to expand access to rural broadband

Broadband provider Nextlink Internet and telecommunications equipment supplier Tarana are partnering to bring large-scale improvements to broadband across the Midwest.

The two companies are partnering to bring reliable, low-latency gigabit broadband service to an extensive set of under-served communities and rural regions in 11 states: Iowa Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin.

They expect to expand service to hundreds of rural counties over the next several years, covering over a quarter million households, according to a press release.

Nextlink is using Tarana’s G1 platform to compete in local markets with fiber providers, with rapid deployment of fast, affordable broadband service. 

“The digital divide remains a pressing issue for most Americans in rural areas, and service affordability is also a big problem in many mainstream markets,” said Bill Baker, Nextlink’s CEO. “G1 is enabling us to address these issues at large scale at a pace measured in months instead of years. Early users on the network are enjoying affordable, uncapped high-speed internet access. We’re looking forward to building this network out quickly.”

In Sept. 2020, Nextlink acquired Iowa internet provider Xtreamair as part of its expansion of broadband and voice services in small towns and rural markets across the Midwest.

Nextlink Internet partners with Tarana to expand access to rural broadband | 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
This Pop-up Is Included in the Theme
Best Choice for Creatives
Purchase Now