Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Applications Now Being Accepted

9/20/19 - Today, the Offices of Governor Kim Reynolds and the Chief Information Officer announced that the application window for the Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Program has officially opened, making $5 million dollars in grant funds available for communication service providers who expand high-speed Internet service into unserved areas in Iowa. The application window will be open from Sept. 20, 2019 through Oct. 18, 2019. The grants are part of legislation that was passed earlier this year as a part of the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative. 

“You can’t succeed in the Information Economy if you’re not connected to the Information Superhighway, “ said Gov. Reynolds. “Broadband connectivity is a central component to our Empower Rural Iowa Initiative because connecting our rural communities is fundamental to all aspects of growth and prosperity. High-speed broadband will not only make Iowa a hub for innovation, but is vital for keeping our young people here and attracting others to Iowa.”

“The broadband grant program will empower rural Iowans with better connectivity,” said Lt. Gov. Gregg. “Connectivity opens doors for entrepreneurs, students and farmers, and brings us one step closer to ensuring opportunity and prosperity in every corner of our state.”

“Universal access to broadband is critical to the future of all Iowans,” said Chief Information Officer Annette Dunn. “I strongly encourage all communication service providers seeking to expand broadband access in Iowa to apply for this funding opportunity. Together, we can help increase the availability of high-speed Internet access in the State of Iowa.”

Up to 15 percent of total project costs are available to be funded through the grant program for communication service providers that facilitate broadband service in Targeted Service Areas of Iowa. Both private sector telecommunication providers and public sector entities that wish to expand broadband access in underserved areas of the state may apply for funding.

The Office of the Chief Information Officer also released a new broadband map of Iowa today that incorporates the latest broadband availability data published by the Federal Communications Commission. Comments from the public have been incorporated into the map, which identifies Targeted Service Areas that are eligible to receive incentives under the program. 

The new broadband map is published at: https://ocio.iowa.gov/broadband-availability-map-version-2

Information about the grant application process can be found at: https://ocio.iowa.gov/notice-funding-availability-002