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Gov. Reynolds commits to broadband funding

Gov. Reynolds commits to broadband funding

Iowa will spend $450 million to bring broadband across the state by 2025

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

At least one state is committed to expanding its broadband coverage over the next few years.

Iowa will spend millions of dollars to bring high-speed broadband to all 99 of the state’s counties by 2025, Governor Kim Reynolds announced on Jan. 12.

She made the statement as part of her 2021 Condition of the State Address.

“We’ll get there by committing $450 million over that time period, which will leverage millions more in private investment, giving Iowa the biggest buildout of high-speed internet in the country,” she said.

About 30 Iowa counties don’t have access to reliable broadband at affordable prices, she added.

Iowa’s broadband capabilities also lags compared to other states.

Multiple resources list Iowa among the states with the slowest average internet speeds.

Fastmetrics, in its 2020 update, for example, recorded Iowa’s average speed at 42 Megabits per second (MBps). For comparison, Delaware’s average internet speed in the same report was 75 MBps, the highest in the country.

At least one state ag organization has voiced its support for the increased broadband funding.

Modern farms require reliable internet for data management and precision ag applications. Without it, producers’ businesses are at risk.

“Agriculture is increasingly high tech and the pace of adoption is accelerating,” Jeff Jorgenson, president of the Iowa Soybean Association, said in a statement. “Lacking connectivity is more than an inconvenience for soybean farmers. It stymies innovation and productivity and that has negative consequences for farmers, suppliers and buyers.”

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