The Biden administration is sending nearly $6 million to Iowa to improve high-speed internet, part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s $65 billion plan to expand affordable high-speed digital access across the country.
The U.S. Department of Commerce said Monday that Iowa’s $5.7 million grant is its first “Internet for All” award, designed to boost high-speed Internet networks and develop digital skills training programs. All 50 U.S. states and six territories applied for and received grants.
Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo thanked Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds for “her efforts to bring broadband to rural and unserved areas of Iowa.”
Of the grant total, $5 million will go to the state to identify barriers to high speed access, among other work, and about $700,000 to ensure all families and communities, regardless of income, location or other factors, receive the benefits that broadband provide.
Also last week, the Commerce Department announced the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa — or the Meskwaki Nation — would receive a nearly $425,000 grant to upgrade equipment so tribal homes can connect to existing fiber internet, among other initiatives.
More:Here’s what to know about how new high-speed internet programs affect Iowans
“Broadband helps create equal learning opportunities for kids in school, expands telehealth options, and helps Iowa’s small businesses compete,” said U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne, an Iowa Democrat who supported the legislation, in a statement.
U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican who also voted for the bill, agreed.
“While we’ve made great progress in expanding internet access in rural Iowa, there’s more work to do,” Grassley said in a statement.
Last week, the Federal Communications Commission released an updated broadband map.
“For years we’ve struggled to determine the exact contours of the digital divide,” said Alan Davidson, administrator of the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration. “The FCC’s new map provides the most precise assessment to date of Internet haves and have-nots.
Donnelle Eller covers agriculture, the environment and energy for the Register. Reach her at [email protected] or 515-284-8457.