The Internet equation

The Internet equation

Our region aspires to be a hub of innovation and technology — do we have the framework in place to compete? The Internet has fundamentally changed how the world does business. Here in Iowa, are we connected enough to participate in this emerging global economy? “People don’t think of Iowa as a place you can even get fast Internet. It’s like, ‘don’t y’all have dial up out there?’” said Eric Engelmann, CEO of Geonetric, Inc., a company that creates websites and content management systems for hospitals. Engelmann has been studying the factors that help businesses launch and grow as he prepares to open the Iowa Startup Accelerator in 2014. The Accelerator, which will be housed along with Vault Coworking and Collaboration Space in Geonetric’s building, being constructed in the New Bohemia neighborhood, will have 10 gigabits per second of Internet available through a partnership with Cedar Rapids-based ImOn Communications. “So actually, we have world-class Internet capabilities right here, with a locally-owned partner,” Engelmann said. Even for most busines customers today, a gigabit of service can seem like a lot. However, as more businesses work online, demand for high speed Internet will increase. “We have to provide the right combination of benefits for potential start-ups,” Engelmann added. “If we neglect even one that’s important, they’ll say ‘well, I could start it better in Boulder or Kansas City.’ And, they’d be right.” ImOn has set a goal to provide up to one gigabit per second of service to every residential customer in their service area. Meanwhile, South Slope Cooperative Communications, based in North Liberty, is in the midst of a five-year,…