Key ABI Priority Advances: Robust High Speed Broadband Deployment

April 9, 2021 | Bridging Iowa's Digital Divide JD Davis, ABI,

As the second legislative funnel has passed, limiting the subjects that can be considered for the rest of the 2021 legislative session, the House, the Senate
and the Governor are united in their efforts to expand access to broadband and increase available speeds of service. The details and the spending levels
for the effort must be coordinated with all parties to deliver a consensus plan. The Governor was bold in her rollout of a 3 year $450 million dollar grant
program to incentivize high speed internet deployment at speeds of 100bps for uploads and downloads. This will not just catch Iowa up to the progress being
made in other states for internet infrastructure, it will leapfrog Iowa to a position of leadership in high speed internet services. This will be critical as the
“internet of things” is normalized in advanced manufacturing. Already the equipment on the factory floor of many Iowa manufacturers is interconnected
via broadband. Lasers exchange data with benders and 3-d printers. Production robots are communicating with delivery robots, preventative maintenance
is scheduled relying on data collected related to machine performance. The House and Senate have responded to the Governor’s policy introduction and are also taking
important steps to ensure that no area of Iowa is left behind in deployment of basic internet services. What remains are decisions on spending levels and
the ultimate speed of the broadband deployed to meet high speed needs. The Iowa House has passed HF848 which will allocate $100 million in each of
the next three years for high speed broadband deployment. Eighty percent of the grants will support the high 100x100 upload and download speeds while
20 percent will be reserved for difficult to serve areas with 100 bps download and 20 bps upload speeds. This bill will serve as the template for all remaining
decisions. ABI staff will be representing our broadband customer members to maximize funding and speed so that Iowa can lead in advanced manufacturing
and grow and attract manufacturers that will create wealth in Iowa for all Iowans. For more on this issue please contact the ABI public policy team:
• JD Davis; Vice President, Public Policy; 515-979-1212
• Brad Hartkopf; Director, Public Policy; 712-249-8589