New rural internet service reaches area communities

Thursday, September 12, 2002

FBX service becomes available

Statewide efforts to connect all of Iowa to the internet moved a step closer to reality this fall as FBX, the internet service created in partnership with the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, expands service to Storm Lake, Sioux Rapids, Rembrandt and Linn Grove.

Just as the rural electrification of America in the I930s brought lights and a new way of life to Iowa's farmhouses and small towns, FBX is bringing quality Internet access to non-urban areas of the state - in many cases, for the first time.

"For many years, those living in rural communities have voiced concern about not having access to the kinds of technological tools and services that FBX provides," said IFBF President Craig Lang. "FBX demonstrates Farm Bureau's desire to become a leader in helping families throughout the state bridge the digital divide, receiving the best-in-class Internet service and accessibility they have requested."

Lang cited a recent Iowa Department of Economic Development study that concluded there are, in fact, two lowas - urban Iowa and rural Iowa - and that the technological distinctions between them can be significant. Of all households in Iowa, 60 percent are connected to the Internet, but connectivity decreases dramatically in rural counties, where only 42 percent of households have Internet access compared to 71 percent of urban households.

FBX was introduced in November of 2001 and has been rolled out across Iowa in stages. By the end of 2002, FBX will provide at least 95 percent of all families in the state with access to information via the World Wide Web.

"FBX is an Iowa-based service with the mission of providing all Iowans with equal access to the power of the Internet," said FBX spokesman Jay Devers. "We are confident consumers will find value in this competitive offering."

Unlimited dial-up Internet service is available for $19.95 a month. Farm Bureau members in Iowa will receive unlimited 56K access at a reduced rate of $16.95 a month. Additionally, subscribers are provided with up to seven e-mail addresses for each FBX account; e-mail virus protection; web mail accessible from anywhere in the world; instant messaging with people on AOL, MSN and other standard messaging services; and space for a personal Web page where members can post photos, keep a web journal, and host a website for their hobbies.

FBX is the first product offering stemming from a collaborative business enterprise partnering Iowa Farm Bureau Federation with Lighthouse Communications, Inc. to provide technological products and services to Iowans throughout the state.