Dems: High-speed Internet provides economic growth

December 24, 2015
By

During the 2015 session, the House and Senate cast a strong bipartisan vote to expand high-speed Internet to every corner of the state. This is crucial to continued economic growth in all industries: services, small business, farming, manufacturing and education.

Broadband—or high-speed Internet—is an educational and economic tool for Iowans and businesses. It is also a building block for a high quality of life, but it isn’t available in all parts of Iowa. According to Connect Iowa, 71 percent of Iowa households have adopted broadband but only 47 percent can actually access broadband at high speed (50 Mbps). For low-income households, rural Iowans and senior citizens, access to high-speed Internet is even lower.

In addition, about 23,000 businesses in Iowa are not using high-speed Internet services. A year‐long effort to set a strategic direction for economic development in Iowa found that 31 percent of businesses surveyed cannot access the higher broadband speeds they want.

HF 655 is changing that by providing incentives to make high-speed more available throughout Iowa. The priority is to address business needs for broadband speeds and reliability, no matter where a business is located in Iowa. The plan is to award grants to communication service providers who make broadband available where it is needed most and to install fiberoptic conduit where it doesn’t currently exist.

At the same time, CenturyLink, Windstream, Frontier and Consolidated Communications have agreed to expand broadband to nearly 90,000 Iowa homes. This is possible through $53.2 million in grants from the Federal Communication Commission’s Connect America Fund.

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Dems: High-speed Internet provides economic growth

December 24, 2015
By

During the 2015 session, the House and Senate cast a strong bipartisan vote to expand high-speed Internet to every corner of the state. This is crucial to continued economic growth in all industries: services, small business, farming, manufacturing and education.

Broadband—or high-speed Internet—is an educational and economic tool for Iowans and businesses. It is also a building block for a high quality of life, but it isn’t available in all parts of Iowa. According to Connect Iowa, 71 percent of Iowa households have adopted broadband but only 47 percent can actually access broadband at high speed (50 Mbps). For low-income households, rural Iowans and senior citizens, access to high-speed Internet is even lower.

In addition, about 23,000 businesses in Iowa are not using high-speed Internet services. A year‐long effort to set a strategic direction for economic development in Iowa found that 31 percent of businesses surveyed cannot access the higher broadband speeds they want.

HF 655 is changing that by providing incentives to make high-speed more available throughout Iowa. The priority is to address business needs for broadband speeds and reliability, no matter where a business is located in Iowa. The plan is to award grants to communication service providers who make broadband available where it is needed most and to install fiberoptic conduit where it doesn’t currently exist.

At the same time, CenturyLink, Windstream, Frontier and Consolidated Communications have agreed to expand broadband to nearly 90,000 Iowa homes. This is possible through $53.2 million in grants from the Federal Communication Commission’s Connect America Fund.

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