Rural Broadband

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced plans for a $148 million broadband funding program today. The program, to be known as the Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Program, was funded through the U.S. Treasury Capital Projects Fund.

The program targets unserved areas and is designed to make service available at symmetrical speeds of at least 100 Mbps.

The Iowa Office of the Chief Information Officer will begin accepting applications for grants in the program on July 14. Providers will have until August 25 to submit their applications. Awards are expected to be announced in September.

Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Program

The Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Program is designed to incentivize broadband infrastructure buildouts in Iowa’s newly established Broadband Intervention Zones, which are deemed to be areas most in need of broadband infrastructure expansion.

Ninety-six Broadband Intervention Zones were established, based on feedback from 55 public meetings, according to a press release.

Iowa expects to award funding based on a point system that will consider nine factors, including:

  • Total eligible service locations facilitated
  • Efficiency
  • Rurality
  • Completeness
  • Relative speed
  • Prospective product attributes
  • CPF areas of emphasis
  • Federal matching funds requested
  • Broadband Intervention Zone ranking

This is the eighth notice of funds available for broadband that the state of Iowa has issued. Through seven previous programs, the state awarded over $352 million in state and federal funding to make service available to 109,126 homes, schools and businesses.

When matching funds that broadband providers contributed to project costs are included, the total new broadband investment comes to more than $791 million, according to the press release.

According to the U.S. Treasury, the Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Program is expected to reach nearly 19,000 locations, representing 16% of locations lacking high-speed service in the state.

Additional information about the program is available at this link.

The funding that the state of Iowa received through the Capital Projects Fund represents 100% of the state’s allocation in that fund. The fund has a total budget of $10 billion.

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