Partnership, Blackfoot and MonTEC work together to boost economic development

August 26, 2013 — Missoula, Mont. — The leading companies of tomorrow need the best technology of today. That’s the impetus behind a new economic development partnership between Blackfoot Telecommunications Group, the Montana Technology Enterprise Center and Missoula Economic Partnership to provide entrepreneurs at MonTEC with broadband Internet capabilities that rival some of America’s largest companies.

Last week, Blackfoot Telecommunications increased MonTEC’s broadband throughput capacity to 1 gigabit per second — 200 times the previous bandwidth — in an initiative that will spur new ways of doing business at Western Montana’s premiere business incubator.

BillSquires“MonTEC intends to be cutting-edge in providing a business atmosphere for growing companies; and technology has to be a part of that equation,” said Joe Fanguy, president of MonTEC. “Blackfoot Telecommunications has a long history with MonTEC, and this new partnership really takes that to a new level — and establishes us as a partner for the next generation of entrepreneurs and companies to come through MonTEC.”

“As an original investor in the Missoula Economic Partnership, we are committed to nurturing economic development in Missoula,” said Bill Squires, CEO of Blackfoot. “This unique partnership is a natural extension of our dedication to grow job opportunities and to demonstrate that Missoula is open for high-tech business today.”

Blackfoot has provided telecommunications service to MonTEC since 2001, when the facility at 1121 East Broadway opened as a home and support center for high-growth business startups. In the years since, the roles of data processing and data transfer have grown considerably — not only among information technology companies, but also among startups in bioscience, engineering and other fields.

While many sizeable communities across America still lack gigabit Internet service, Missoula enjoys practically unlimited broadband capacity due to its location on a relatively uncongested east-west line of fiber optic cables with nearby access to north-south U.S. / Canadian fiber.

Combined with low-cost power and a highly educated workforce, that makes our community an ideal home for many data-centric startups. A recent study by the Kauffman Foundation found that in 2010, Missoula ranked 13th in the nation among metro areas with the highest density of information and communication technology startups.

In addition to opening the 1-gigabit Internet port at MonTEC, Blackfoot technicians also upgraded the building’s internal network infrastructure to assure that the overall network connection is as efficient and fast as possible.

The high-capacity Internet connection at MonTEC will not only facilitate new ways of doing business for existing companies at MonTEC, but also pave the way for new data-driven startups, said James Grunke, CEO of Missoula Economic Partnership.

“This partnership between MonTEC, Missoula Economic Partnership and Blackfoot Telecommunications in providing almost unlimited broadband access really changes the game for entrepreneurs,” Grunke said. “If we’re really serious about developing entrepreneurship and a culture that supports entrepreneurs, then we need to have facilities and places of business that really do that. By providing this at this facility, we get to demonstrate that Missoula is ready for business and we’re serious about it and we have the technology to move forward.”

About Blackfoot Telecommunications Group

Blackfoot Telecommunications Group offers advanced telecommunications solutions to customers in Missoula and throughout Montana and Idaho including voice, data, IT and security services. Blackfoot’s fiber optic network extends through 6,500 square miles of Western Montana and Eastern Idaho. Named after the Blackfoot River running through much of the territory it serves, Blackfoot was originally established in 1954 as Blackfoot Telephone Cooperative and is headquartered in Missoula, Montana.

About Montana Technology Enterprise Center (MonTEC)

MonTEC is Western Montana’s premiere business incubator, providing an entrepreneurial environment for growth-oriented enterprises whose success will contribute significantly to the growth and diversification of Montana’s economic base. Managed by The University of Montana, MonTEC provides office space to several tenant companies, and facilitates support services such as seminars, workshops and business development training programs to MonTEC companies as well as other local entrepreneurs.

About Missoula Economic Partnership

The Missoula Economic Partnership works to increase the prosperity of our community by nurturing sustainable business growth and quality job creation. The Partnership’s professional staff serves a central role in a broad, collaborative effort involving 80 business, individual and government investors as well as more than 30 strategic partners, all of whom share the vision of a vibrant, growing and diversified regional economy.


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