Today, Governor Reynolds and the Department of Management’s Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) announced the release of an Invitation to Qualify (ITQ) for communities in need of future broadband investment.   

The ITQ process allows communities to propose areas across the state of Iowa that should be prioritized by the OCIO in the next Empower Rural Iowa broadband grant opportunity. Areas identified by communities through the ITQ process will become Broadband Intervention Zones. Providers who apply for Empower Rural Iowa grant funds to construct service within these Broadband Intervention Zones may be eligible to receive enhanced incentives and higher prioritization for funding. 

“This is a first of its kind program and it relies directly on Iowa communities to inform the state where opportunities exist to expand broadband access,” said Gov. Reynolds. “Empowering local communities will help lay the foundation for future success and access to broadband statewide.” 

Since 2018, the OCIO has coordinated the Empower Rural Iowa Grant program to accelerate broadband expansion in unserved and underserved locations across the state of Iowa. Through seven grant opportunities, $352,850,022 in state and federal funding was awarded to bring broadband service to 109,126 homes, schools and businesses in Iowa. The total new broadband investment between public and private money is $791,203,995.  

Instructions for the ITQ are available here, including videos, guides, and templates to assist communities who wish to submit an application. Community representatives may also e-mail for assistance. To subscribe to email updates, go to and click the “Subscribe to Broadband Grant Updates” button at the top of the page.