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Gov. Reynolds announces $200 million broadband grant opportunity

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds delivers her annual Condition of the State Address on Tuesday, January 12, 2021. (Photo by Iowa PBS)

Yesterday, Governor 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.

Gov. Reynolds and the OCIO announced the awardees of the latest $100 million state-funded Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Program last month. Due to the overwhelming need and interest in the program – the 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.

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,” Gov. Reynolds said. “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. 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.

You can learn more about the grant process for this funding opportunity by visiting the OCIO website at https://ocio.iowa.gov/empower-rural-iowa-broadband-grant-program-notice-funding-availability-007.

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