Allo Fiber

Allo Communications crews install fiber-optic cables in Lincoln in April. The company says demand for its services have been double what was projected.

MISCHA LOPIANO/Journal Star file photo

Brad Moline expected Allo Communications to be successful in Lincoln, but the demand so far has greatly exceeded projections.

Moline, the president of the communications company now owned by Nelnet, said Lincoln pre-sales of Allo's services to date have been more than double what the company projected.

"I've never seen a community just embrace us like this," he said.

Moline spoke during Nelnet's annual meeting Thursday at the Courtyard Marriott in the Haymarket and then spoke to the Journal Star afterward.

Moline said Allo is planning to spend $50 million this year on capital expenditures, with most of that going toward the fiber build-out in Lincoln.

Allo currently is building out fiber networks in and around downtown and in east and southeast Lincoln, and he said there are eight crews working in the city right now.

Moline said service should be available to the first Lincoln customers by late July or early August.

That service will include high-speed Internet, with speeds up to 1 gigabit available, as well as digital television and landline phone services.

He also said that the company is planning to hire at least 100 employees in Lincoln this year, which will double the size of Allo's entire workforce.

Allo, which Nelnet bought last year for a little over $46 million, is a key cog in Nelnet's strategy to diversify the company.

CEO Jeff Noordhoek said the company has evolved from what started out as a "simple idea" 20 years ago to start a finance company outside of banks that bought student loans.

Nelnet still makes most of its money from student loans, both in interest earnings from its existing portfolio of loans and its servicing business for the federal government and private companies.

But the company is growing other parts of the business. Nelnet Business Solutions, its payment processing business, increased revenue to $120 million last year, up from $98 million the year before.

Nelnet also invested more than $100 million in non-core business operations in 2015, including its $46 million purchase of Allo, a $41 million equity investment in Hudl, $18 million in real estate investments and $8 million in angel/venture capital investments.

Noordhoek told those in attendance at the meeting that those are all long-term investments that will take time to pay off for shareholders.

"The things we do this year will play out years from now," he said.

Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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