A Cleveland Startup is Building the Country’s Best Fiber-Optic Networks
How Everstream started in Cleveland and has expanded to ten states
There was a time when ultra-fast internet access was a luxury, a nice addition to a work space. But in 2022, fast and reliable internet is not optional, especially for companies looking to innovate, develop and excel. So for companies with needs that go beyond the regular offerings of everyday ISPs, Cleveland’s Everstream wants to be the new go-to.
“Everstream builds, owns and operates fiber optic networks across 10 states, predominantly in the Midwest but also in Pennsylvania, parts of New Jersey and Delaware,” said CEO Brett Lindsey. “We offer a fiber-based service for businesses only that delivers internet and ethernet services. We’ve gone from being just Ohio and Michigan to adding in other states, and now we’re up to 10.”
Everstream has had a winding road to reach its current status. The company got started out of a variety of grants and other funds in 2010 as OneCommunity, a non-profit bringing connectivity exclusively to northeast Ohio. But by 2014, Lindsey split off the company with for-profit ambitions. And after raising $50 million in funding in 2015, the project officially took off. Since then, the brand was sold to Australian investment group AMP Capital, but is still headquartered in Cleveland, where it’s continuing to expand, acquire other companies and look toward the future.
“Our focus is really on providing better service and support than our competitors that have the market share that we want to take,” Lindsey said. “In the telecom world, you want to build your own network while leveraging other assets. For us, because of the amount of bandwidth we offer our customers, we built our own assets. That gives us better control, and our investment means that we have the newest and most robust network to provide services that our peers can’t.”
Building that network — and the company it supports — has been Lindsey’s passion. He said the company’s high aspirations and expectations are part of their mission to be the best provider for their customers.
“I’ve been in this space now for 30 years, and building things is my passion,” he said. “We get that rush every day because we’re doing more construction than other organizations. I like to describe it as building a moat around our space, where it’s impossible for anyone to come in and compete against us because we have the most dense network and we’re building everywhere we can. I think every major carrier being a customer of ours shows that that’s happening.”
In addition to being his home and a great location to raise his kids, Lindsey said Cleveland has been an ideal headquarters for Everstream, and an important backbone to their growth. Not only does Ohio contribute to an office culture that he values above almost all else, northeast Ohio has offered the company the talent they need, especially as they’ve grown from a staff of just over 100 to nearly 400 in just a few short years.
“I love being in Cleveland and I love being downtown,” he said. “In our markets, we try to have a downtown office because I think it’s important to be engaged with the city. So we’re right downtown in the Playhouse Square in Cleveland and near the Short North in Columbus. Being a part of those cities is important to me, and I love our culture and having people working in those offices. And for me, when I think about finding talent and the work ethic that comes from the Midwest, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
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