DES MOINES, Iowa – On Monday, the state of Iowa has awarded 14 broadband providers with $15,542,302 in Empower Rural Iowa broadband grants made possible through Gov. Kim Reynolds’ allocation of federal CARES funding. These grants will impact 21 Iowa counties and more than 2,800 homes, schools, and businesses.
“The COVID-19 pandemic only underscored the need for fast, reliable, and accessible broadband,” Reynolds said. “This investment goes directly to projects that are in significant broadband deserts. While today’s allocation will help improve broadband in more communities, we can do better. Iowa must have universal broadband access to compete and succeed in the 21st century, which is why I’m working with the legislature for significant funding over the next three years that will ensure access for all Iowans by 2025.”
This latest grant round shows the demand for broadband grants in Iowa. More than 42 providers applied with applications valued at more than $41 million dollars. That is nearly a three to one ratio of funds requested to funds available. The Governor’s office says the demand speaks to the need to support and fund broadband infrastructure within Iowa to remain competitive in the post-COVID-19 world.
The $15 million dollars is the remainder of the $50 million in CARES funding Governor Reynolds designated for broadband grants from a previous round of funding. The full list of providers awarded grants can be found here.