NAPPANEE — Businesses in Nappanee have been limited when it comes to broadband Internet access, according to Jeff Kitson, executive director of the Nappanee Area Chamber of Commerce.
That’s why aXess America, a new company offering Internet access specifically for rural areas, opened its first storefront in Nappanee Tuesday, July 30. The company also has a local connection — senior vice president Thomas Mattern is a former Nappanee area resident.
Kitson said that many small business owners in Nappanee are interested in the new option for service.
“If you can’t download the large files you need to run your business, you are out of luck,” Kitson said Wednesday. “That’s what we are seeing from area businesses. We need reliable Internet access with faster download and upload speeds.”
Mayor Larry Thompson said Wednesday that aXess America joins several other service providers in bringing more complete Internet access to the city.
“I think everybody is pretty happy with (the Internet options) available now,” Thompson said. “Nappanee is connected to the whole world, just as much as South Bend or anyone else. Our industrial base coming out of the recession is growing all the time. Having what is available in larger cities is very important and I think we are there now.”
He added that he is grateful one of Nappanee’s own chose to launch a business in the city.
“We wish Tom (Mattern) the very best and we are glad he came back home to kind of kick start this,” Thompson said.
Kitson said Nappanee families are also looking for reliable Internet connection because children are using the Internet for homework more.
“There is a lot of buzz about having (Internet connectivity) available for school (purposes),” Kitson said.
Eric Doden, president of the Indiana Economic Development Corp., said at the aXess America launch event Tuesday that Internet connectivity is as essential as sewer services, water or electricity. He added that quality Internet access is vital to economic growth.
AXess America is serving Elkhart, Marshall, Kosciusko, and St. Joseph counties. The company’s storefront is located at 401 E. Market S.