‘Significant’ fiber internet expansion also expected in Coralville
ImOn network technicians Jamie Fuhrmeister (left) and Jeremy McKeehan work to transfer ImOn facilities to a new utility pole in Cedar Rapids in July. (The Gazette)
ImOn Communications map for expansion in Iowa City and Coralville. (Provided by ImOn Communications)
IOWA CITY — ImOn Communications said it has accelerated its Iowa City expansion, aiming to have the fiber network available to all residences and businesses by the end of next year.
ImOn CEO Patrice Carroll told The Gazette the company will be halfway to its goal in the next month with an additional 4,000 addresses added to its Iowa City footprint.
“We’ve really accelerated our pace,” Carroll said. “We are now building at a rate of about 10 times faster than we normally build. What that means to Iowa City is that we should have all Iowa City residents and businesses completed by the end of 2022.”
ImOn also is working on expanding its fiber access to residences and businesses in Coralville. Carroll said “significant” progress will be made next year, with Coralville’s fiber network expected to be completed by mid- to late 2023.
“Our total investment in the next two years will be about $33 million, which is enabling us to move at a much faster rate than we ever have before,” Carroll said about the expansion in Iowa City and Coralville.
The Cedar Rapids-based ImOn first announced its plans to expand into the Iowa City market in 2015. Mediacom attempted to block the expansion with a lawsuit against the city of Iowa City and ImOn, but the judge ruled against the Blooming Grove, N.Y. company.
ImOn started offering services in 2016 to businesses in the downtown area of Iowa City and began residential service in 2019. The Cedar Rapids-based internet provider also has partnered with the city to provide free Wi-Fi at two Iowa City parks and along the Pedestrian Mall.
Carroll said the COVID-19 pandemic and the derecho slowed down efforts, but the company “picked up speed” this last year.
“If we didn’t know prior to the pandemic, the pandemic certainly has taught us how essential broadband service is for everyone,” Carroll said.
As with other companies, ImOn ran into supply chain issues and availability of contractors. Normal challenges were “amplified,” Carroll said.
The internet provider also is working on expanding its network in Dubuque, expecting to have that build-out completed by the end of 2024.
In addition, an accelerated plan is in place for Cedar Rapids, Marion and Hiawatha, Carroll said. Those areas are about 60 percent completed, Carroll said, and are expected to be finished by 2024.
“Our objective is to be completely built out in all three of our markets exiting 2024, and then the sky’s the limit,” Carroll said.
Cable television in Iowa City
ImOn will begin offering cable television using internet-protocol television technology in Iowa City by early next year, Carroll said.
Carroll, who has lived in Iowa City for 33 years, was the first resident to have it installed and is beta testing the technology.
Lisa Rhatigan, ImOn’s vice president of customer experience, said the company is trying to get the service out to customers by the beginning of February.
Cable television will be available to Iowa City residents within ImOn’s area.
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