Governor Kim Reynolds signed into law Wednesday House File 848, a bill that will set up grants to companies that expand broadband in underserved areas of the state.
The new law establishes matching grants for companies that develop broadband infrastructure in areas that don’t have access to high-speed internet. Most of the companies receiving these grants must provide broadband service that has upload and download speeds of 100 megabits per second, although companies planning to extend slower speed internet access to sparsely populated areas could qualify.
“Iowa will be empowered to take full advantage of 21st-century technology while competing on a level playing field in a 21st-century economy and Iowans shouldn’t settle for anything less and thanks to this bill, they won’t have to,” said Reynolds during a bill-signing this morning in the State Capitol.
Last week, legislators and the governor agreed to set aside $100 million in state money for the broadband grants. Reynolds says she will use $50 million in federal pandemic relief funds to add more money to the grant program. She also says she plans to ask lawmakers for another $150 million in each of the next two years to continue the program. The bill passed the House and Senate unanimously.
Iowa Senate passes broadband bill -April 7, 2021
Expanding Broadband Access Across Iowa -Sept. 9, 2020