Iowa Telecommunications Services continues to consolidate its position as a competitive service provider in the upper Midwest by buying out minority stakes in four communications properties from partner New Ulm Telecom.

For a total of $1.7 million, it is now in full control of En-Tel Communications, Shal, Shal Networks and Direct Communications. New Ulm, which held approximately one-third of the stock in each of the four, said it was monetizing non-core assets.

The key asset in the deal appears to be Shal. Shal owns and leases a 2,500-mile fiber-optic network throughout Minnesota that provides access to low-cost, high-quality transport facilities. En-Tel Communications is a CLEC based in Willmar, Minn., providing local voice, DSL and digital video services to customers in central Minnesota.

This is the fourth acquisition Iowa Telecom has announced in Minnesota over the past 18 months, following Bishop Communications, Sherburne Tele Systems and WH Comm. The sale is expected to close this fall.

Iowa Telecommunications Services and its subsidiaries serve more than 450 Iowa communities and 10 Minnesota communities and employ approximately 800 people.

More Broadband Direct 07/06/09:
•  West Virginia attorney general sues Comcast
•  FCC betas site for Broadband Policy
•  Iowa Telecom strengthens its hand
•  TV stations struggling with viewer loss on DTV
•  SageQuest teams up on GPS with Garmin
•  Nokia: No Android-based smartphone
•  Samsung announces earnings estimate
•  Circuit City completes sale of Canadian assets
•  Broadband Briefs for 07/06/09