LAWTON, Iowa (KCAU)- High-speed internet may seem like a standard utility for many of us, but many rural Siouxland communities are still working to gain access.
Kingsley, Iowa is one of the latest rural towns to connect online.
Wiatel, Western Iowa Telecom, has spent more than $25 million to bring fiber internet to small towns. Smithland just gained high-speed internet connection earlier this summer, and one local businessman said it has made a major impact.
“Pretty remarkable that out in a rural country, I have better internet than the towns that I grew up in Omaha or Lincoln and so forth. So it’s pretty exciting to see that,” said Patton.
Johnathan Patton owns his own web design company and often works from his home in Smithland. His work changed a lot two months ago with the upgrade to fiber-optic internet.
“Wow, my productivity has just skyrocketed. Things now take seconds compared to minutes or even hours,” said Patton.
Its why the CEO of Wiatel made the major investment to make this high-speed internet available in 12 rural communities in Woodbury, Monona and Plymouth counties.
“As workplace dynamics change and more people want to work from home for a lot of reasons, having a really reliable affordable and fast internet connection is gonna help,” said Heath Mallory, the CEO of Wiatel.
“Being able to get much faster access to the news to be able to stream videos and just be able to do things more efficiently,” said Patton.
By 2020, Kingsley will join the others already enjoying the digital age.
“My kids are able to get online and do quick research especially watching videos how to do things or studying up for their exam and so forth. It has just been really helpful,” Patton said.
“This will be the last piece of buried facility that we put in the ground while I work here. There is nothing faster than fiber. It has been around for a while, but until something is found that is faster than light, fiber is really gonna be where it is at,” said Mallory.
Wiatel is one of several Siouxland internet providers working to help more people gain access to high-speed internet. Long Lines recently made a similar expansion in northeastern Nebraska.