As of January 1, 2019, Tipmont will acquire Wintek Corporation, this area’s premier technology and fiber solutions provider. Together, the two companies will deploy residential fiber internet access to Tipmont’s current 23,000 customers.
In addition, they will continue to grow Wintek’s premier business class solutions and services such as state-of-the-art data center colocation, Cisco network design and implementation, and high-speed internet access and WAN/transport services.
General questions and Answers
- Why did Tipmont acquire Wintek?
- As most of you know, Tipmont has been on a two-year journey asking our members for input and guidance as we evaluated the possibility of offering internet, video and voice service. Our members spoke to us in very clear terms that affordable high-speed internet is an essential service that they desperately need.
- How does this affect the current Wintek employees?
- All 22 Wintek employees will join Tipmont, effective January 1, 2019. Wintek COO and Co-Owner Oliver Beers will assume the role of Vice President of Marketing & Sales. Wintek Co-Owner and CEO Travis Bailey will assume the role of Vice President of Information Technology overseeing strategic technology initiatives.
- Will new jobs be created?
- We are looking forward to expanding our team in the future as we continue to meet the growing needs of both our residential and business communities. Please visit our jobs page for open positions.
- How did Tipmont and Wintek come together?
- Tipmont and Wintek have a long history of partnership. For over a decade, Wintek has used our poles for portions of their residential and business fiber network. Wintek has also consulted on Tipmont’s information technology systems and helped provide connectivity to various Tipmont resources, including our headquarters in Linden. The longer we worked with Wintek, the more we recognized how their expertise and knowledge of the fiber communications industry could immediately strengthen our ability to deliver state-of-the-art service. And, Wintek recognized Tipmont had the scale and human resources that they needed to fulfill our shared vision of solving the broadband gap in rural areas.
- Will the name of Tipmont or Wintek change?
- We plan to unveil the name of our fiber service in spring 2019. We do not plan to change the Tipmont name as it relates to electric service at this time.
For Tipmont Customers
- Who is Wintek?
- Wintek is a well-established technology company based in Lafayette. Their primary specialty is supplying fiber internet, WAN circuits and dark fiber to business customers. Wintek also provides a variety of other services including: data center colocation, Cisco network design and implementation (firewalls, switches, routing, wireless, VOIP), outdoor event wireless service, email hosting, website hosting, name service hosting and fiber design services. Wintek has 22 employees and an office on 6th Street near downtown Lafayette along with a state-of-the-art data center in Lafayette.
- Will the fiber services change?
- No. We will still offer fiber internet, video and voice service as previously stated.
- Will the pricing change for future Tipmont customers?
- The pricing at join.tipmont.org will be the service pricing for all Tipmont and Wintek fiber to the home customers.
- Will this enable me to get service faster?
- When we made this decision to offer fiber internet, it was predicated on Tipmont constructing the network on our own. Having spent two years completing feasibility studies and market analyses, we were confident in our ability. But we also realized that we faced a significant learning curve. We needed to quickly master network engineering, fiber construction and regulatory management as it relates to being an internet service provider. That takes time.
We’ve previously shared that our build plan is spread out over eight years. While we are still learning how the acquisition of Wintek will impact our build plans, what we do know is that their expertise and knowledge of the fiber communications industry will immediately strengthen our team. Additionally, we will be able to utilize Wintek’s existing infrastructure to capitalize on the assets sooner. We will share updated build plans and timelines as they become available.
- Will this affect my electric bill?
- As we’ve previously shared, the finances of both the fiber and the electric services will be separated so we can manage the health of both. We have used both rigorous internal and external feasibility studies and market analyses to ensure that our business units are self-sustaining. The acquisition of Wintek significantly reduces our risk because of their proven technological expertise, innovation and advanced fiber infrastructure.
- How does Wintek as a private company fit with Tipmont’s co-op business model?
- Tipmont and Wintek’s shared values was what made the conversation between our two companies work. Wintek shares Tipmont’s core principle of community success, a belief that we have a special responsibility to provide essential infrastructure in the areas where our members live and work and, more importantly, that those infrastructure investments have a positive impact because they are state-of-the-art.
For both Tipmont and Wintek, this means our services are second to none. The quality and reliability Tipmont and Wintek provide is among the best in the country. We believe services in rural Indiana should be and will be the best available anywhere. With fiber internet, many rural families will be able to take classes online, video chat with family members who are far away, and work remotely. This fiber internet service will be as transformative as the inception of electric service 80 years ago.
- Will this affect Tipmont’s ability to participate in Indiana ‘Next Level Connections’ program and other public funding?
- This past fall, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announced a $100 million investment for rural broadband as part of the state’s “Next Level Connections” program. We’re grateful for the state’s recognition of the digital divide and the accompanying funding.
Much of Tipmont’s service area consists of low population or low density areas. Low density areas suffer disproportionally from poor broadband service and these are the areas that are likely targets for state broadband funding. Tipmont’s acquisition of Wintek does not change that condition.
- Will the fiber service be available for non-Tipmont customers?
- Yes, but only on a case-by-case basis where providing service to a non-Tipmont customer is deemed economically advantageous to Tipmont’s membership. Our commitment to offer fiber service to the entire Tipmont electric service area has not changed and will remain our top priority.
- I have Tipmont electric service, but I don’t plan to sign up for Tipmont’s fiber service. How will this benefit me?
- There are two benefits to you: electric system benefits and economic benefits. Over the last few years, we’ve been connecting our substations with fiber optic communication. One of the new technologies fiber has enabled is called distribution automation.
Distribution automation is a fancy term for automatically restoring outages. If a problem occurs close to the substation, everyone else down the line is affected and out of power. Distribution automation devices isolate the problem area and efficiently reroute power to you until a line worker is able to make repairs.
Therefore, if you’re not close to the problem area, you would be out for about a few minutes while the distribution automation device reroutes power, rather than a few hours waiting for repairs. The devices will especially benefit dense and distant areas where an outage either affects many people, or takes a long time to reach. Tipmont has six of these devices active in the field today, with three more planned for 2018.
Regardless of whether you participate in Tipmont broadband, everyone in our entire Tipmont service area will benefit. Connectivity is vital for economic development, growth and overall well-being. Broadband has become a necessity of modern life, not a luxury. Rural communities are disadvantaged by the lack of access to high-speed internet service. This circumstance hinders telemedicine, education, business investment and general economic development, farm income, civic engagement, and even property values. To retain and attract businesses to our local economy, we must keep up with this growing demand.
For Wintek Customers
- Will the price for my residential fiber internet service change?
- Yes, and for the better! Current Wintek residential customers will see an increase in speed and a decrease in price. In January, additional communication will be sent to you to explain what this means for you.
- When will the pricing changes go into effect?
- The new pricing for Wintek customers will go into effect January 1, 2019. Since Wintek bills one month in advance for service, the first bill that you will receive with updated pricing will be your March service bill that is sent at the first of February. Credits will be issued for the difference in pricing for the January and February service, but we ask that you please be patient as we work to make the necessary changes in our system. We’ll be posting updates on our website as we have more information to share.
- I’ve been considering Wintek fiber service. Will the construction fees change?
- Yes, new residential services connected after 1/1/19 will no longer pay a construction fee. If Wintek has recently built fiber in your area and you are still interested in service, please contact Wintek to determine availability to your home. If Wintek has not recently built in your area, please register your interest at join.tipmont.org.
- In 2018, I paid a construction fee for Wintek fiber service. Will I get a refund?
- We’re currently evaluating if customers will receive a refund for a portion of their fiber construction fee paid in 2018. Additional details will be released in late January, with communication to those impacted.
- Will Wintek continue business services?
- Yes. We look forward to increasing and accelerating our investment in areas where there is significant community need. Thanks to Tipmont’s resources, we will be able to broaden our business services and support larger projects. Our Lafayette data center is a strong example of innovation that will continue to grow and strengthen our local economy.
- If I’m a current Wintek customer, who do I contact for support?
- Until notified otherwise, please continue to contact Wintek at (765) 742-8428 for technical support.
- Will new service options be available?
- Current Wintek customers will eventually be able to receive video (television) and voice service through Tipmont. You will be notified when this option is available.
- If I’m an apartment served by Wintek, will my service or price change?
- No, pricing and service for current Wintek apartment customers will not change.