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FCC awards millions to Iowa Broadband Providers

To bring broadband to rural Iowa, the Federal Communications Commission announced it will award more than 140 million dollars to 11 providers. Parts of the Hawkeye State are hoping for stronger internet.
Posted at 7:01 PM, Dec 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-15 20:01:52-05

POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY, Iowa (KMTV) — The coronavirus pandemic is shedding light on the need for internet connectivity across the state of Iowa - especially in rural parts.

Jessica Turba, with Iowa's Office of the Chief Information Officer, said having quality internet is a necessity, not a luxury.

"It's definitely one of the building blocks for commerce, it's one of the most important things we can offer rural communities, for people who do medical visits or people who are doing that distance learning," Turba said.

Chris Corrin owns Western Iowa Wireless - an internet service provider - based in Neola. He said rural communities face broadband barriers.

"When you look at a rural area where you might have a population density of a few houses per square mile, it becomes time-consuming and costly to bury fiber," Corrin said.

Drew Kamp with the Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce says strong broadband will better support communities like Avoca, Crescent or Underwood.

"It's a limiting factor to their ability to compete for some economic development projects because they just don't have that telecommunications capability for someone that may need it," Kamp said.

Ultimately - Corrin hopes - better broadband will maintain the small-town lifestyle he's grown to love.

"It's important to do what we can to make it attractive to live in these communities for these people and keep the population there," Corrin said.