The Wichita Eagle
August 26, 2014
The fast-growing Kansas Fiber Network is leaving its 7,000 square feet in Old Town for 20,000 square feet in the Northrock Business Park.
“We’re really pleased that we’ve done so well as a company in the last four years,” says president Steven Dorf. “We sometimes forget we really are still a start-up company.”
KsFiberNet, as it’s known, started in 2010 with an investment from 29 independent telephone companies to provide broadband service to rural Kansas.
“Out in the rural areas of the state, it was difficult to get affordable broadband,” Dorf says. “Our mission was to support the needs of these independent telecos.”
The idea was to connect rural telephone companies into major Internet hubs. Initially, that was “helping them connect their voice network into the national long distance network providers,” Dorf says.
Much of the service now is related to Internet bandwidth. Dorf says smartphones are only wireless to the closest cellular tower. Then they’re converted to fiber-optic signals.
“That’s a big part of our business now,” Dorf says. “Chances are if you’re out in rural Kansas, and you’re using your cellphone and pulling up Google maps or listening to iHeartRadio… that data is traveling over Kansas Fiber Network facilities.”
Still, he says, “Nobody knows who we are because we don’t sell to any individuals.”
The company sells wholesale to wireless carriers.
“We make those other networks work better and faster,” Dorf says.
He was the sole employee when the company opened in July 2010.
“We’ve grown steadily since then.”
There are 21 full-time employees, who work at 121 N. Mead, and almost 100 contract employees.
The new space at Northrock is at 3450 N. Rock Road across from Sam’s Club.
“It will give us some room to stretch out a little bit so we’re not literally on top of each other,” Dorf says.
There will be office space, training space and “a little bit of room to grow.”
“Based on our growth curve, we feel that having that extra space available to us makes sense in the long run,” Dorf says.
He says the company has employees working 24 hours a day seven days a week.
“It’s really cool being in Old Town, but at night it’s really difficult to find parking.”
KsFiberNet is taking the last building built at Northrock, which Dorf says is a freestanding building that his company will solely occupy.
“This is probably better suited to our long-term needs.”
Marty Gilchrist of J.P. Weigand & Sons and Ross Way of Anderson Management handled the deal.
KsFiberNet will gradually move to its new space throughout the month of December.
Dorf says the company may want to put equipment from other companies at its new space.
“We have looked at other opportunities to grow the business.”
He says that could include acquiring other providers and expanding into new areas of the state.
Dorf says financially, the company won’t have a problem expanding.
“We’re doing great.”