ANKENY, Iowa — Carlos Rojas’ business, Blue Bean, provides a desk and an internet connection to employees who want to work remotely. When Mediacom’s internet went down across Iowa this week, his business became a hotspot in more ways than one.
“We sort of can tell when internet’s down, because all of a sudden our phone starts ringing,” Rojas said. “We kept hearing the question, ‘Do you have Internet?’ and they wait for the moment we say yes.”
A Mediacom spokesperson reported 40 percent of its Iowa service area lost internet Tuesday due to a software bug on a router, which left the situation “beyond Mediacom’s control.”
Rojas said his Ankeny business temporarily lost internet as well, but he pays for multiple internet service providers just in case Mediacom’s service goes out.
“Our number one promise to our members is that, with all of our ability, we’re going to keep you online all of the time,” Rojas said.
Rojas started Blue Bean three years ago and has noticed the rise in remote work since the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the outage and corresponding demand for his service showed how much of the business world has moved online since 2020.
“What we’re starting to see now is a hybrid,” Rojas said. “One of the things we help our members and guests do is to have the ability to blend both worlds. There are people who come here and want to have a meeting, but almost always, even when they have the in-person meeting, there’s always a part of the team or team members who have an online presence.”
The outage’s effects went beyond remote employees. Rojas said some neighboring businesses affected by the lack of Mediacom service could not process credit or debit cards and had to use cash for all transactions.
“It really stops the world from spinning, which highlights that huge dependency we all now have,” Rojas said. “Internet is vital, it’s the bloodline.”