Gov’s broadband expansion agenda spreads to nearly 90,000 homes across Iowa

Amber WilliamsEditor
Gov’s broadband expansion agenda spreads to nearly 90,000 homes across Iowa

Leaders from area Internet providers CenturyLink, Windstream, Frontier and Consolidated Communications joined Iowa Gov. Terry E. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds at a scheduled press conference this week to announce the broadband Internet services expansion across Iowa to nearly 90,000 homes. This was a priority of the Branstad-Reynolds administration during the 2015 Legislative session and was made possible by $53.2 million in grants from the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) Connect America Fund (CAF). Gov. Branstad signed the bill into law at a press conference held at Van Wall Equipment in Perry on June 22.

“In Iowa, technology and access to broadband Internet is the great equalizer for our rural communities,” said Branstad. “We have put a focus on broadband Internet expansion because if our small businesses are to compete in a global economy, our schools are to have access to an abundance of online learning resources and our farmers are to connect their modern equipment for precision farming, we must connect every acre with broadband infrastructure. I’m pleased that CenturyLink, Windstream, Frontier and Consolidated Communications are all choosing to invest in Iowa to connect our communities.”

“To date, 19 communities across our state have become certified Connected Communities. These cities and towns have demonstrated a commitment to continued economic growth by embracing the opportunity presented by 21st century technology,” said Reynolds. “As an elected official who grew up in rural Iowa, I know that a key part of maintaining continued growth in all corners of our state is our vision to connect every acre with broadband Internet and becoming the most connected state in the Midwest.”

The FCC created the CAF in 2011 to foster growth in broadband access by transitioning funding that was supporting rural landline service to broadband service.

Representing the service providers at this week’s event were Michael Sadler, assistant vice president of public policy and government relations for CenturyLink, Gregory Gray, Iowa operations chief of Windstream, Jack Phillips, director of government and external affairs for Frontier and Mike Shultz, vice president of regulatory and public policy for Consolidated Communications.

The companies are planning the following buildout of broadband Internet in Iowa:

· CenturyLink will be receiving $17,893,887 to build out broadband to 34,827 locations.

· Windstream will be receiving $28,672,554 to build out broadband to 44,930 locations.

· Frontier will be receiving $4,240,587 to build out broadband to 5,438 locations.

· Consolidated Communications will be receiving $2,393,216 to build out broadband to 3,019 locations.