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Ultra-fast Internet service is coming to Lincoln
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Ultra-fast Internet service is coming to Lincoln

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In the Noordhoek household, a typical night involves one child on a computer working with a teacher on schoolwork and another playing Xbox while Mom connects through FaceTime with her sister out-of-state.

Jeff Noordhoek said that often leaves him with a buffering circle on his device while he tries to catch up on back episodes of "The Walking Dead."

But thanks to Noordhoek, who is CEO of Nelnet, and a lot of other movers and shakers in Lincoln, families and businesses all over the city won't likely have to suffer the indignity of buffering again.

Nelnet announced Monday that it had bought ALLO Communications, an Imperial-based Internet provider, for $46.25 million.

And on Tuesday, Noordhoek, along with Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler and other officials, announced that the company will bring 1-gigabit Internet service to Lincoln.

Brad Moline, president of ALLO Communications, said that, depending on weather and some other variables, the first customers should get service sometime next summer.

The whole city, all 100,000-plus residences and businesses, should have access to the 1-gigabit service by sometime in 2019.

"In today's world, access to ultra-fast broadband is a key factor when people decide where to live and locate new businesses, and we want the city of Lincoln to be at the top of their lists," said Beutler, who called it the best piece of news in the city since the announcement of plans for Pinnacle Bank Arena.

It is thanks in large part to advance work by the city that Lincoln is getting the ultra-fast broadband Internet service that few other cities in the U.S. have.

The city is giving ALLO access to its fiber conduit, a network of several hundred miles of fiber-optic cable that runs in the right-of-way, to make it more cost-effective to lay fiber cables to the home.

Moline said that was "absolutely" a major factor in ALLO's decision to come to Lincoln.

"But for the conduit system, this wouldn't be considered," he said.

Moline said that even with the ability to use the conduit system, building out fiber to every single home and business in Lincoln still will cost more than $100 million.

The expense of building out such a system is why so few cities in the U.S. offer Internet with speeds of 1 gigabit.

The most well-known provider is Google, which started offering its Google Fiber service in Kansas City, Kansas, and has since expanded to a handful of other cities.

Beutler said having such high-speed Internet service will be a "game changer" for the city.

"This partnership will increase Lincoln's ability to compete on a global stage, create new and exciting educational opportunities and make our city a destination for next-generation businesses that could not have considered us before," he said.

Ben Pankonin, CEO of Social Assurance, a Lincoln company that offers social media management services to financial services companies, said the next generation of businesses is based on speed of available telecommunications.

For a small start-up going up against large established companies, "the only way to match them is with speed," he said.

Moline said roll-out plans for the service have not yet been decided. He said ALLO will divide the city into about 100 different areas and then determine the most efficient way to proceed.

Moline did not offer an expected price for the service but said ALLO usually is very competitive with other providers.

The company does not list a price for 1-gigabit Internet service on its website, but it lists the price for 100-megabit service at $55 a month.

ALLO also offers digital TV and phone service, and a bundle of all three is priced at $132, including taxes.

By comparison, Windstream offers a introductory bundled plan with phone, 190 channels of its Kinetic TV and 15-megabit Internet for $105 a month, before taxes. After a year, the price goes up $20.

Time Warner Cable offers an introductory 12-month rate of $110 a month, before taxes, for 200 digital channels, 50-megabit Internet and phone.

More information on ALLO's local plans is available at

Reach the reporter at 402-473-2647 or


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Business reporter

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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