ABI Priority Issue: Improved Broadband Bill Passes Iowa House
April 1, 2021
The Iowa House passed HF 848 on Monday, March 29, which establishes the policy to increase access and speeds for broadband in the state of Iowa. Improving broadband infrastructure in Iowa remains a priority for ABI because businesses increasingly rely on high-speed internet for evolving manufacturing processes. All Iowans have witnessed the increased demand for robust, high-speed broadband during this pandemic.
Key highlights of the bill include:
- Grants to provide broadband service with a minimum download and upload speed of 100 megabits per second
- Defines “Tier 1” as a maximum download speed of less than 25 megabits per second and a maximum upload speed of three megabits per second
- Modifies “underserved area” to mean any portion of a targeted service area in which no communications service provider facilitates broadband service meeting the Tier 1 download and upload speeds
- 80 percent of grants will go to projects that facilitate minimum download and upload speeds of 100 megabits per second
- Up to 20 percent of grants will go to projects that facilitate minimum download speeds of 100 megabits per second and upload speeds of 20 megabits per second
The bill will now have to be addressed by the Iowa Senate, which is where the governor’s proposal for broadband was filed. The amount of investment that will be put forth for broadband will be decided during the appropriations process at the end of the session. House Republicans recently said they are planning to allocate around $100 million to fund the expansion of broadband. Legislators will likely set aside one-time funding of $300 million to take place over three years.