The state of Iowa has awarded 14 broadband providers with $15,542,302 in Empower Rural Iowa broadband grants made possible through allocation of federal CARES funding.
The 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,” said Gov. Reynolds in a press release. “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. That is nearly a three-to-one ratio of funds requested to funds available.
The 14 awards ranged largely in size. The smallest award was a $140,000 grant to South Slope Cooperative, a telecommunications company based in North Liberty. Last October, South Slope won a $5.4 million dollar award from the the U.S. Department of Agriculture to expand broadband service in rural areas. The largest award was a $4.5 million grant to Allamakee Clayton Electric, a member-owned electric cooperative delivering broadband to northeast Iowa. On average, each grantee received just over $1.1 million in funding.
Below are the 14 broadband providers that received funding.
The $15 million is the remainder of the $50 million in CARES funding Gov. Reynolds designated for broadband grants from a previous round of funding. All broadband projects that receeived grant funding must be completed by December 1, 2021.
The full list of applicants can be found here.
FCC awards over $143 Million to Iowa Broadband Providers -Dec. 22, 2020
South Slope receives $5.4 million award to expand rural broadband -Oct. 15, 2020
Expanding Broadband Access Across Iowa -Sept. 9, 2020