Iowa Flag

Mediacom and Citizens Mutual Telephone Cooperative were the biggest winners in the latest round of funding in the Empower Rural Iowa rural broadband funding program. Numerous small and local providers also won funding.

Mediacom’s award is for over $19.1 million. Citizens Mutual’s award is for over $20.4 million.

Thirty-three companies are slated to share over $149 million in awards. The Iowa Department of Management Division of Information Technology, which made the awards, cautioned, though, that awards are contingent on the successful execution of a grant agreement.

The agency also designated four companies as reserve awardees. As a notice of intent to award (NOIA) explains, “Reserve awardees are those whose applications were not awarded above due to complete overlap by a higher-ranking applicant. The agency may offer an award to a reserve awardee where a higher-ranking awarded applicant declines an award that impacts overlapping eligible service locations in the reserve awardee’s application.

The awards list is dotted with footnotes indicating that some amounts awarded were lower than the applicant requested for various reasons. Some awards were reduced because there wasn’t enough funding available to serve all locations after funding was awarded to higher-ranking applicants. Other awards were reduced because some locations were determined to overlap with:

  • locations slated to receive enhanced ACAM funding
  • locations winning funding through a higher-ranking application
  • locations deemed not to be broadband serviceable

While major cable companies and other large regional broadband providers have won funding in numerous state broadband programs, the latest Iowa NOIA list included no such names.

This round of the Empower Rural Iowa program was funded through the federal Capital Projects Fund. The goal was to incentivize broadband infrastructure buildouts in Iowa’s Broadband Intervention Zones, which are deemed to be areas most in need of broadband infrastructure expansion.

The state began accepting applications for this round in the program in July, with a deadline in August.

A complete list of awardees is available at this link.

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