DES MOINES – On Monday, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced that $200 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding is now available for grants offered through the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) to improve broadband access for Iowans.
Last month, Reynolds and OCIO announced the awardees of the latest $100 million state-funded Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Program. Due to the overwhelming need and interest in the program – OCIO received 178 applications requesting a total of $300 million – the State of Iowa is using $200 million in federal funds to build upon it.
Reynolds opposed the American Rescue Plan Act, but indicated that she would use, in part, the federal funding for rural broadband access.
This new grant program allows communications service providers, including telecommunication companies and local governments, to apply for up to 60 percent of their broadband project costs in eligible areas of the state. Communications service providers are encouraged to apply for a grant to install broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved locations.
“Broadband has never been more important for our future. I continue to hear from Iowans who still lack access to the broadband speeds necessary to start a business, telework, or connect with a healthcare provider,” Reynolds said. “With this additional investment, we have invested more than $300 million this year alone on bringing future-ready broadband to rural and unserved areas of our state.”
Questions about the opportunity may be submitted to the OCIO beginning on October 15, 2021. Applications may be submitted to the OCIO from October 25, 2021 through November 22, 2021.
Further information about the grant process for this funding opportunity is available on the OCIO website.