DES MOINES, Iowa — A bill that aims to expand broadband access in Iowa is on its way to Gov. Kim Reynolds’ desk.
The bill would provide matching grants for private companies to expand broadband access into areas that have little or no broadband coverage.
Although it passed unanimously, Democrats tried and failed to pass an amendment to require providers to offer more affordable internet options to Iowans.
Gov. Reynolds has called on the legislature to fund $150 million toward broadband grants over the next three years, with the goal of all Iowans having access by 2025.
“One-third of our counties are broadband deserts, second-lowest broadband speed in the country, and one out of five Iowans lack the bandwidth required for video chats,” said Sen. Carrie Koelker (R) of Dyersville.
West Des Moines recently began the construction of a conduit network to provide multiple high-speed internet options to residents. The city engineer believes the broadband legislation awaiting the governor’s signature will fill more gaps.