Broadband discussion continues

April 2, 2015

On Wednesday morning, a House Ways and Means subcommittee held a hearing on House File 576, the broadband bill. Committee Chairman Peter Cownie (R-West Des Moines) said he plans to add an amendment in full committee and received feedback from stakeholders and the public on what additional items they would like added. The current version of the bill contains framework for a grant program but does not include any funding. The grant program allows for projects that fit the scope of the bill to be eligible for up to 10 percent of the project to be paid for by federal funds from the grant program, should the federal funds become available.  Stakeholders expressed interest in trying to increase that 10 percent  number. The current bill also includes a 10 year property tax abatement, 60 day maximum wait for permit approval and language allowing schools to use revenues from the Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE) fund for information technology infrastructure. The bill is expected to be taken up by the full House Ways and Means committee soon.