DES MOINES, IOWA (October 26, 2020) — Governor Kim Reynolds has announced a new round of grants to expand broadband access. The $5 million dollars in additional broadband grants is the latest in a series of Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grants to give more Iowans access to critical broadband infrastructure.

“The future economy and quality of life in rural Iowa depend on every Iowa home, business and farm having high-speed Internet access,” said Gov Reynolds. “This year alone we have been able to invest nearly $200 million dollars in private and public funds for broadband infrastructure. By leveraging state, federal, and private resources, we will continue to open the door for greater innovation and opportunity in all parts of Iowa."

Gov Reynolds added that COVID-19 underscored the urgency of connecting underserved and unserved areas to the information superhighway to support online learning, telehealth, and working from home.

The first Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grants were made in 2018. To date, more than 61,000 homes, schools, and businesses are slated to get access to broadband service in rural Iowa. With matching funds from the Empower Rural Iowa and CARES-funded grants, the total infrastructure investment in Iowa comes to more than $121 million dollars and is growing with this latest round of broadband grants.

The application window for the latest round of broadband grants opens October 29 through November 22. Comments and questions can be e-mailed to ociogrants@iowa.gov from October 23, 2020 through October 28, 2020. Formal responses to questions submitted during the Question and Response period will be posted by the Office of the Chief Information Officer on October 29, 2020.

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